The most iconic component of Paducah's Executive Inn were the two, large neon Es found atop its roof. They so identified the hotel that many simply called it "The Big E."
When The Big E was demolished, the salvage company in charge donated the two neon letters to The Easter Seal Center to be auctioned in support of the annual telethon.
"I was watching the 10 o'clock news one night and found out the silent auction closed on the two Es at 11 P.M.," says Chip Wynn. "I've been around auctions a long time, so I knew I could bid and get those. So I did! Jennifer Horbelt later asked me what I was going to do with them. I said, 'Stay tuned. They will rise again!'"
Chip had a plan all along. "All three prongs on the letters are equal, so if I turned them on their backs, they made perfect Ws."
After a bit of repair work, Chip placed them prominently in front of his auto dealership on Park Avenue. "Now my car lot is The Big W," he laughs.
Chip is collector of Paducah neon. He currently owns historic signs from Finkel's, Cherry the Florist, and Dalton Cleaners. He is also on the lookout for what he considers the holy grail of Paducah neon, the sign from The Twinkling Star.