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Here’s why some McDonald’s locations have a single golden arch

The first golden arch went up in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1953

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McDonald’s signs sprout from the restaurant’s parking lot in New York.

McDonald’s signs sprout from the restaurant’s parking lot in New York.

Richard Drew, Associated Press

The McDonald’s golden arches have existed since the 1950s. Over the decades, these neon yellow signs have become a symbol of capitalism and globalization.

But only true McDonald’s fans know about restaurants with single arches.

The single arches came during a time when the fast-food chain tried to introduce Speedee, a hamburger cartoon, in the signage. The character was a man with a chef hat and a hamburger-shaped head.

One of the locations is still standing in Magnolia, New Jersey, with only 11 other locations featuring the single arch.

“I would say it’s a historic treasure,” said Tod Swormstedt, executive director of the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to NewJersey.com.

According to an article from the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, the first golden arch went up in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1953.

McDonald’s wanted to create a “memorable but functional design” that was the “modern take of a drive-in that had already become popular in Southern California by the 1930s,” wrote Alex Portée for “Today.”

“The single-arch sign represents the embrace by corporate America of modernism (think St. Louis Arch and the widespread use of the parabolic arch in pop culture) and the departure from neon toward fluorescent-lit plastic panels in metal frames,” wrote ABC News’ Rolando Pujol in an Instagram post.

“This is a vivid example, too, of the midcentury fascination with signage that stands out from the road,” he said, noting that the designs, like the Big M, that succeeded the single-arches were “even more audacious.”

Later, McDonald’s made the arches smaller and attached them to a towering pole, in hopes of promoting the restaurant chain.

“The Golden Arches have been a beacon to customers since the 1960s, when McDonald’s began updating its single-arch Speedee signs at restaurants across the U.S.,” McDonald’s USA said in a statement to Today Food. “You can still find the original signs at a few select locations, which have become popular destinations for road-trippers and history buffs alike. We love seeing our fans celebrate our history at these nostalgic spots while also creating their own memories at McDonald’s in their local communities.”

Where can you find McDonald’s restaurants with a single arch?

Here’s a list of all McDonald’s restaurants with single arches still standing, according to Yahoo! Life:

  1. Downey, California.
  2. Montrose, Colorado.
  3. Green Bay, Wisconsin.
  4. Muncie, Indiana.
  5. Lewiston, Idaho.
  6. Magnolia, New Jersey.
  7. Winter Haven, Florida.
  8. Belleville, Illinois.
  9. Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
  10. Warren, Michigan.
  11. South Houston, Texas.
  12. Independence, Missouri.