Giant Neon Cockroach That Haunted Southwest Freeway, Eradicated at Last

GIANT NEON COCKROACH THAT HAUNTED SOUTHWEST FREEWAY, ERADICATED AT LAST Bubba, the cockroach enshrined in an enormous neon sign for Holder’s Pest Control, which stood guard for years along Westpark next to the Southwest Freeway, will not return to the Houston skyline, the company reports. The 8-ft.-by-16-ft. sign was taken down in 2004, after Holder’s relocated. But after almost 8 years of residence in a company warehouse, the sign was “cut up and hauled off for recycling” earlier this year, reports Travis Alford. That menacing, old-fashioned cockroach is no longer a part of the brand identity of the company now known as Holder’s Pest Solutions, and it won’t be coming back. Holder’s just-unveiled new logo instead features a gentle curve at its top that references instead a much more modern feature of Houston: the Astrodome. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Holder’s Pest Control

10 Comment

  • Wow. Sad ending for the roach. Probably what will happen to the Dome, too.

  • I heard about this sign before I even got to Houston in the 80s. It was one of my husband’s favorite local “oddities” and he couldn’t wait to show it to me. I’ve missed them both.

  • Sad indeed. Not only did these people miss out on the chance to sell that sign for a pretty penny; they also paid some idiot to rip them off and destroy what was a quasi-legend in local branding.

    The Holder’s roach ranked just above COLORADO’s eponymous sign (also of US-59 lore), but safely under the the Horn Bar & Grille’s gigantic blue saxophone on Richmond Ave.

    The color palette, the roach silhouette, the typeface…they sort of epitomize for me and probably many other Houstonians what we think of when we think pest control. Oh well. It’s the Houston way…out with the good and in with the bland.

  • It’s not really dead. While we’re asleep it will emerge from the scrap heap and continue to wander under the cover of night. Somewhere a husband will find it and attempt another violent execution, only to have the wife frantically call him home when it crawls back out the next day.

  • They traded one symbolic thing that’s hard to get rid of for another. Not sure if that’s genius or just sad.

  • I’m with Bobby on this one– how little vision Holder’s has– to squander that icon like that

  • As a native Houstonian, I was just certain Holder’s would auction of the neon insect. I know people who would’ve LOVED to have had that displayed someone on their property. It was a Houston landmark every bit as famous as Randy’s giant donut in LA. RIP Bubba.

  • I was angry as hell earlier this week when I read that the giant roach was taken down. When I learned it was actually taken down in ’04, and I haven’t actually seen it in eight years, hey, that really lightened the blow.

    If I had the dough, I would have bought it and welded it right above the big WALD sign on the East End, just to add to the confusion.

  • I had assumed it was irreparably damaged in hurricane winds like happened to so many other vintage Houston neon installations.

    Truly an iconic “Welcome to Houston!” sign for many!

  • Adding a 90’s era swoosh to your logo doesn’t seem like the best way to make your logo modern. Generic and overused? Sure.