The Maine Historic Preservation Commission has determined that the recently restored Hawkes Plaza Sign on Route 302 at Duck Pond Corner in Westbrook is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance within the areas of art and commerce.
The sign was built by Al Hawkes after he returned home from the Korean War to advertise his TV and radio business. The sign became a local landmark for travelers along busy Route 302 and is commonly referred to as the Giant Walking Serviceman or Walking Man sign. The sign has three hundred and eighty-five lightbulbs and a mechanical motor that drives the serviceman’s arm back and forth as it carries a box of TV parts. Completed in 1962, the sign was turned off in 1989. It was recently restored to working order by restaurateur Bill Umbel, owner of the new Lenny's Pub in the building occupied by Al Hawke's former TV and radio business.
Greater Portland Landmarks worked with the Westbrook Historical Society and neighbors to gain recognition for the sign now threatened by a Maine Department of Transportation proposal for a roundabout at Duck Pond Corner. The determination by the state of the sign's significance is an important step to preserving the sign for drivers to enjoy as they pass by for years to come. So next time you head west on Route 302, stop into Lenny's, take a picture with the Walking Man, and thank Bill for restoring this important piece of Westbrook's history! For more information on the history of Duck Pond and Al Hawkes:
Iconic Hawkes Plaza Repairman Lives Again in Westbrook Bangor Daily News