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Photographer using historic neon signs to tell story of Kansas City

The work behind the Lumi Neon Museum
Nick Vedros and next to his collection of historic neon signs
Posted at 5:30 PM, Feb 01, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nick Vedros is a Kansas City photographer and president of the Lumi Neon Museum, a nonprofit and a space in Pennway Point that will be dedicated to historic neon signs throughout the city.

Take Town Topic. It's been busy flipping burgers and filling orders since 1937. It's one of many establishments embedded in Kansas City history.

The Town Topic burger sign, Nick Vedros

Vedros wants to make sure Town Topic, and other businesses are never forgotten.

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"We’re all about preserving the past for the future," Vedros said.

In collaboration with his board, Vedros collects these artifacts and works with local sign companies to restore them.

"We have signs from East of Troost, we have signs from Raytown, we have signs from downtown, we have signs from Brookside," he said.

They tell a story about what Kansas City once was, honoring businesses and families that many will remember.

It's not just rescuing and restoring these pieces, it's finding them a new home where everyone can enjoy it.

That spot is right in Pennway Point, an alley dubbed the Lumi Neon Museum.

Nick Vedros, President of the Lumi Neon Museum and photographer

"There’s not going to be anything more Kansas City than this alley," Vedros said. "For the people that are in my age bracket, they will absolutely probably remember every sign."

It's a space that's free to the community, that will definitely bring up memories and emotions.

"Without these businesses you don’t have the economic engine to drive a city," he said.

Town Topic's famous sign from Crown Center will be on display. It's a business, like others, that brings Kansas City to life and into a bright future.