Wind knocks down Flamingo Motel sign in Bay City

BAY CITY, Mich. (WNEM) – Bay City’s skies are a little less bright now after a familiar sign that’s been around for decades failed to match this blow from Mother Nature.

“He was an icon for the south. You knew you were in Bay City when you saw the Flamingo Motel sign,” former motel owner Joe Hickmott said.

One of Bay City’s oldest neon signs withstood its latest gale on Friday.

One of Bay City’s oldest neon signs withstood its latest gale on Friday.(WNEM)

“It was installed in 1949, and as you can see it’s a mess,” Hickmott said.

The familiar display of the Flamingo Motel was blown over by high winds. Gusts in Bay City exceeded 50 miles per hour on Friday.

“It’s a piece of history that’s gone now,” Hickmott said.

The motel had been in the Hickmott family for decades. His parents bought him in the 70s.

“Ma would be crying right now. And I think my dad would be very upset as well,” Hickmott said.

It is one of the oldest and largest neon signs in the area. Hickmott remembers his heyday.

Back when it was fully lit, you could see it from the airport,” Hickmott said.

When his parents passed away, they passed the torch to Hickmott and he owned the motel from 2012 until October last year.

“It was their life and for ten years it was also my life. Every time you put your blood, sweat and tears into something, even after you sell it, you are still part of it,” said Hickmott said.

One of Bay City's oldest neon signs withstood its latest gale on Friday.  The motel...
One of Bay City’s oldest neon signs withstood its latest gale on Friday. The motel had been in the Hickmott family for decades. His parents bought him in the 70s.(WNEM)

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