Wait, there are still McDonald's with one arch in their logo?

No, the signs in the pictures below aren't mistakes. They're some of the last remaining examples of a rare species that's slowly creeping towards extinction: McDonald's restaurants that still sport their original single-arch signage.

There was speculation at the start of the month that the closure of a McDonald's in Belleville, Illinois, meant there were none of these rarities left, but there are still a few around. Here's where you can find them.

A McDonald's sign with just one golden arch

This McDonald's in Bellville, Illinois, has recently closed down (Image credit: McDonald's / Google Streetview)

When people come across rare single-arch McDonad's restaurants, they sometimes think the sign is a mistake or that the restaurant is an imposter. Actually, the sign is just very old. The McDonald's logo and the 'golden arches' weren't originally intended to look like an 'M'. They were,... well, arches.

Early restaurants had one golden arch on either side of the building so they could be easily seen from the road. These arches were used to represent the restaurants and several variations of a single-arch motif were used to create signs in the 1950s and 1960s. The first logo proper was designed to resemble a restaurant seen from an angle, from which perspective the two individual arches overlapped and happened to form an 'M').

This early iteration of the McDonald's logo was designed to look like a restaurant from an angle

This early iteration of the McDonald's logo was designed to look like a restaurant from an angle

A McDonald's in Bellville, Illinois, closed at the start of the month, leading to the removal of its 61-year-old single-arch signage, which had survived several attempts at modernisation over the years, with locals rejecting proposals to update it. But single-arch McDonald's signs can still be found in some US states. Some of them even still feature McDonald's original mascot, Speedee.

So where can you see a single-arch McDonald's sign today? As well as the oldest surviving McDonald's in Downey McDonald's, there are restaurants with single-arch signs in Pine Buff, Arkansas (the sign has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places); Montrose, Colorado; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Muncie, Indiana; Lewiston, Idaho; Magnolia, New Jersey and Warren, Michigan. Here are some of the finds people have made on social media.

This McDonalds sign in Montrose, Colorado has a single arch instead of the traditional double-arch. from r/mildlyinteresting

When you're a brand as ubiquitous as McDonald's, a restaurant with any deviation from the usual brand identity can become a place of pilgrimage for fans. The McDonald's in Sedona, Arizona, has become a hit on Instagram thanks to its blue McDonald's logo, and some of these last remaining single-arch McDonald's could achieve the same fame.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.