Dick Bong was an American flying ace in World War II, credited with shooting down 40 enemy aircraft in the P-38 Lightning. After his death in a test flight accident in 1945, the Air Force named a proposed base project after him. Richard I. Bong Air Force Base was to be located near Kenosha, Wisconsin, between Chicago and Milwaukee. The intent was to have an Air Force presence protecting these two major cities in the height of the Cold War. The Air Force purchased the land and began construction. However, changing military technology and strategic doctrines making the base unnecessary, as well as complications from passenger traffic at the nearby Chicago O’Hare and Milwaukee Mitchell airports, led to the project’s cancellation in 1959. In the 1970s, the state of Wisconsin took over the land and converted it for recreational activity. The state’s transportation department then posted signage on nearby Interstate 94 (now also Interstate 41) pointing the way to the Bong Recreation Area, accessed by way of Exit 340.
Of course, these days most people just see the sign and giggle a bit because they’re thinking of an entirely unrelated type of “bong recreation”.
We’ve recreated the signposts for the Bong Recreation Area and made them available for you to enjoy at home. Our replica follows the exact federal and state standards for signs of this type. It uses the standard Series E Modified fonts, and every detail of the layout complies with federal standards for large freeway guide signs. The original of this sign is colossal—to be easily read at Interstate speeds, the text must be over a foot tall! Our scaled-down replicas easily fit in your garage, bar, or any other recreation area you might use for…honoring Dick Bong, of course.
Our Bong Recreation Area sign is printed on heavy 14-gauge steel. Its glossy, non-reflective finish looks great indoors, but is durable enough to withstand the elements, for those who prefer to enjoy the Bong sign outdoors. Choose from sizes from 16 in. × 8 in., all the way up to 72 in. × 36 in. Two convenient mounting holes are pre-drilled in every sign we sell. (Looking for this sign in a size not shown here? Or perhaps a different sign for another recreation area, or elsewhere in Wisconsin? Or something entirely different? Do you want the exit number on this sign to not be 340, for reasons we won’t ask about? We can help! Contact Jake to get started on your custom order.)