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Cigar Store Indian

A little tiny history lesson: A long time ago, more people couldn't read than could. Because of this, merchants used visual aids to advertise their shops. Barber poles, for instance, indicated the presence of a hairstylist/dentist/surgeon within. And we all know, a picture of a martini glass means there is alcoholic refreshment available inside. And so it is with the Cigar Store Indian.

You see, because tobacco was introduced to the Europeans by the Native Americans during their explorations in North America, the Native American image came to be associated with tobacco. And because most European manufacturers of the original likeness carvings didn't really know what North American "Indians" looked like, some of the earlier carvings were quite exotic and inaccurate. However, by the time the practice had reached North America, the likenesses of the Native Americans became a little more realistic, although still pretty darned fanciful.

These days, we don't see so many of the carvings around. Maybe because they offend some people or because they take up too much room or are too tempting to passing dogs and roaming thieves. Maybe there just aren't that many cigar stores. For whatever reason, they're easy to spot. And so is this one, located in front of the cigar store at 10 W. Figueroa Street, in downtown SB.

Identifying the location of the sign earned contestants 2 March Edness points.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Source: Santa Barbara Edhat

Cigar Store Indian