Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Won Lee Restaurant Sign: a wee bit of cultural justice in Florida

Somehow I missed this story as it developed (I don't always have time to read the West Volusia Beacon) but spotted it in a year end summary in the DeLand-Deltona Beacon:

In 1999, DeLand passed a sign ordinance requiring signs to meet more stringent regulations. The city gave out-of-compliance businesses a 10-year grace period, which expired May 2009. Won Lee Chinese Restaurant owner Seamus Poon asked commissioners to not make him take down the historic 1950s- style sign. Later in the year, the commission postponed enforcing the ordinance on the Won Lee sign and other nonconforming signs until 2013.

Through the magic of Google search, I was able to find this excellent article about the background of the skirmish, which includes the background of Won Lee's owner and the origin of his colorful name, as well as identifying a hero on the DeLand City Commission, Leigh (not Lee) Matusick, who took up Mr. Poon's cause.

Come 2013, I hope to be there (at an age respected in Florida) to argue for giving both the Won Lee sign and the name Seamus Poon Historic Landmark status,

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