This site is dedicated to all employees of Stonehouse Signs, Inc. who have willingly and cheerfully given of their time and talents over these many years. Their commitment has prevented countless accidents, injuries and losses of life.
"JW" was an itinerant sign painter. The lure of gold drew him from Chicago to The Southwest in the early 1890's.
"JW" was also a mining man, a real estate investor, promoter, and above all an entrepreneur.
As you will see his legacy helps protect you and your family today.
William Stonehouse, 1835 - 1898. He was born in England and did gold-leaf lettering in Chicago. In 1868 he married Ede Dodd, 1835 - 1914. They had three children, James Wesley in 1869, William in 1873, and Margaret May in 1895.
"JW" married Georgia Cornelia Worster in 1889. There were two children, Ruth A 1892 - 1941, and Hazel Ede 1894 - 1973.
"JW" married again in 1905 to Daisy Ray 1881 - ?. His third marriage in 1918 was to Hutoka Andrus Stone 1886 - 1976. Pictured above are his parents, "JW" and Hutoka.
Victor, Colorado 1900 - 1902
The banner reads, "The Stonehouse Dillon Monument Lease." There is no record of this being a successful venture.
"JW" financed his search for gold by applying his trade as a sign painter. The sign shown, "The Boston Shoe & Clothing Co." was still visible in 1990 when this photo was taken. His"Tag" was still readable.
"JW's" ads in the city directory gave his address as the Tomkins Block, Victor, Co.
"JW" and Lowell Thomas, Sr. were friends. Somewhere I have seen flyleaves from Mr. Thomas with greetings beginning, "Stoney."
Douglas, Arizona 1903 - 1910
"JW" may have painted his way to Douglas. There are pictures of him and his work from Albuquerque and other locations in the Southwest. One of the pictures reads "Cortland Ariz. about 1904 when town started." Cortland is not to be found on maps today.
"JW" had two homesteads, a home and rental property in Douglas. This store-front shop was at 1268 G Avenue. It touts "J.W. Stonehouse painter of good signs pictures & framing." In 1903 "JW" incorporated under the laws of the territory of Arizona as "The Stonehouse Company."
Promoting a Dream - 1905
Looking for the big pay-off? . . . for the adventure?. . . for the thrill of the chase?
The Saddle Mountain District in Southeast Arizona, ". . . a half mile in an easterly direction from the mouth of Ash Creek & the Gila River." can be an unforgiving place. How, in 1905 would you persuade Eastern Capital to invest in your dream? Names like The Monte Cristo Conservative Mining Co., The New England - Arizona Copper & Gold Mining Co., Gold Dollar claim and Gold Bullion #5 claim couldn't hurt.
Hard Times - 1906
There always seems to be a crowd when the bottom falls out.
Its often been said that more money went into gold mining than ever came out. 1906 wasn't "JW's" best year. The accounts receivable was the first to go. Then the inventory which included 4,000 rolls of wallpaper, barrels of whiting & ochre, a dozen step ladders, 200 lbs. of graphite, scaffolds and other assorted sign painting equipment.
The Big Strike 1910 - 1912
"JW" became aware of one source of accidents in mines. The miners, as they worked from mine to mine, encountered different sets of mine bell signals in each mine. Ever alert for business "JW" sensed an avenue for sales. With meticulous ground-work he, state by state by territory laid out his plan. Get the bureaus of mines to standardize the signals and require them to be posted at each level in the mine and at the wheel house.
With these standard "Mine Bell Signals" neatly silk-screened on oil cloth "JW" had a relatively easy job selling his product to the mine owners.
Denver, Colorado 1912 - 1920
As promised "JW's" legacy helps protect us today.
In 1920 "JW" moved from a shop at 17th & Lawrence St. to this building at
9th & Larimer. Stonehouse Signs, Inc. prospered and grew at this location.
James Wesley Stonehouse was a pioneer in the industrial safety movement. He worked tirelessly to promote his design for safety sign panels that are recognized as standard today by The American National Standards Institute. The "Danger", "Caution" and "Notice" panels you see today are "JW's."
Stonehouse Signs, Inc. moved from the 9th & Larimer location in 1968. It is now located in Arvada, Colorado and being operated by a fifth generation of family members.