After decades without working lights — the iconic rabbit sign at the Cotton Bottom Inn now has neon illumination.
“It’s the first time in about 60 years,” surmised Dave Brimley, owner of Brimley Neon, which recently restored the vintage sign.
On Monday, the company returned the blue and yellow piece to its home at about 6200 S. Holladay Boulevard in Holladay.
Brimley said there were no photos to show the exact color of the two original neon tubes. From the paint around the rabbit, though, he could tell that one light had to be sky blue.
The other, based on the 1950s era in which it was built, was either gold — which ultimately clashed — or yellow.
Here are a few other noteworthy facts:
• It took six months and more than 80 hours of labor to restore the sign.
• For years, customers thought the sign had bullet holes, but a closer look at the damage showed they were actually from hunting arrows. One arrowhead is permanently stuck in the sign and was not removed for historical purposes and character.
• About 40 pounds of garbage was removed from inside the sign from old transformer wires and dirt to bird and hornet nests.
• Brimley hand-painted the sign and it was brighter and “much more colorful” than the final version. But the owners asked that it be antiqued to make the finish look historic. “They preferred that it not be shiny new paint.”
• While the new sign is in place, the Cotton Bottom is undergoing a remodel and likely will not open for several more months. The new owners — the same folks, including “Modern Family” star Ty Burrell, who own Salt Lake City’s Bar X and Park City’s Eating Establishment — are remodeling the kitchen and restrooms as well as building a new dining room to allow for more seating.