Jun 23, 2021 - News

Des Moines' Snookies sign gets knocked down, but could get up again

Illustration of the Snookie's sign in Des Moines.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Snookies' beloved sign that was downed by a driver, and then grounded by red tape, is a step closer to rising back up — this time as a historic landmark.

Driving the news: Des Moines' Landmark Review Board recommended the City Council approve designating the ice cream shop's neon sign as a "local landmark" Tuesday.

Flashback: A driver hit the sign just hours after Snookies closed for the season in October 2020.

  • But the sign, which was attached to a pole, no longer fits city code. In 2014, Des Moines banned new pole signs, saying it made streets like Merle Hay Road look like "clutter."
  • By designating the sign built in the 1980s as "historic," Snookies could put it back up without violating city code.
A screenshot of a Facebook post showing an image of the downed Snookie's Malt Shop sign in Des Moines.
The downed Snookies Malt Shop sign. Screenshot courtesy of the store's Facebook page

What they're saying: "When the gentleman took his 2003 Honda Odyssey and took out that sign — it was kind of a blow," said Leslie Hunter, whose family owns Snookies. "A fitting end to the 2020 season."

Your take: We heard from a lot of you who cherish the sign and some who questioned if it's truly a "landmark."

  • "It should be allowed to go back in the same place it's always been! Not that we don't know where Snookies is, even without the sign!" — Rochelle Zimmerman of WDM
  • "Forcing it down is ridiculous. It was there before nearly anyone in the neighborhood or certainly the zoning law." — Michele Jones

What's next: City Council members will consider the board's recommendation. They haven't yet set a date to do so.

Three photos depicting the evolution of the Snookie's Malt Shop sign in Des Moines.
The evolution of the Snookies sign. Images courtesy of city documents

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