Historic Preservation Revives Original Leopold’s Ice Cream Sign


(L to R) Savannah Technical College Historic Preservation students with Stratton and Mary Leopold after the sign was revealed at the 2012 Opportunity Gala on December 7. Photo by Stephen Morton.
(L to R) Savannah Technical College Historic Preservation students with Stratton and Mary Leopold after the sign was revealed at the 2012 Opportunity Gala on December 7. Photo by Stephen Morton.

Savannah Technical College’s Historic Preservation Department recently renovated Leopold’s Ice Cream’s original building sign. It was presented to Stratton Leopold, the College’s 2012 Opportunity Award recipient, at the Opportunity Award Gala on Friday, December 7, 2012.

“I am very proud of the way our faculty and students work with the community,” said Savannah Technical College President Dr. Kathy Love.

A few months ago, while meeting with Love and other college staff members to plan the Gala, Stratton told the story of the original Leopold’s sign. The circa-1920 sign fell down in a windstorm in the mid-2000s. Mary Leopold was in Savannah and received the call when the sign fell down. She made arrangements for the sign to be taken to the dump. She called Stratton, who was working in California, to let him know the sign had fallen. Imagine her surprise when he told her to have them turn the truck around and deliver the sign to the house. He has stored it in his garage ever since. At the meeting with the College, he mentioned he wanted to find a way to use it again someday.

The sign remained hanging even after the original shop at the corner of Gwinnett and Habersham closed. Stratton had rented the bottom floor to a laundromat called “Wash House.” According to Stratton the sign had been damaged several times during its life and had seen many changing times in Savannah including wars, celebrations and various events during the decades. He has a photo from the 1930s, which shows damage to the sign, as well as trees down on Gwinnett Street.

Students then painted primer on the sign. The template was traced, cut, transferred onto the sign and painted by students. Doug Bean Signs installed neon lighting, prior to the sign’s reveal at the Opportunity Gala to more than 300 of Stratton’s closest friends including James Cromwell.

This year, Leopold’s Ice Cream celebrated its 93rd anniversary and is recognized the world over for its delicious treats and its trademarked Veri- BestTM ice cream. All flavors are made on the premises, one batch at a time, using top-secret family recipes handed down from the original Leopold brothers.


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