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Missing since Hurricane Hugo, original Lupie’s sign found in Matthews

Lupie’s new sign resembles the original one that had been lost in Hurricane Hugo.
Lupie’s new sign resembles the original one that had been lost in Hurricane Hugo. chanson@charlotteobserver.com

Twenty-five years ago Lupie’s original sign disappeared during Hurricane Hugo, but last week Lupie’s Cafe employees recovered the broken sign in Matthews, leading to questions about how it got there.

A friend of one of the employees at the Monroe Road restaurant spotted the sign while jogging on the Matthews greenway about 10 miles away from the cafe and brought the sign in to the cafe.

“When I saw it, I knew it was part of our original sign,” said Larkin Duran, daughter of restaurant owner Lupie Duran.

Hurricane Hugo hit Charlotte on Sept. 22, 1989, with wind speeds that exceeded 80 mph and caused millions of dollars in damage throughout the area.

Currently, Briar Creek, which is adjacent to Lupie’s, doesn’t have a connecting waterway that would carry the sign to Matthews. But some flooding occurred, so it’s possible, though not likely, that the sign floated south.

Lupie’s, which opened in 1986, replaced the lost sign with one that resembles the original.

Despite being gone for so long, the sign held up very well, Duran noted. While the sign is missing chunks of the top and side, the paint doesn’t appear to be faded or chipped.

“If it’s been outside that long, it’s insane that it’s in that good of condition,” Duran said.

Know what happened?

Do you know more about what happened to the Lupie’s Cafe sign? Email Clayton Hanson at chanson@charlotteobserver.com.

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