Why Do Some McDonald's Restaurants Only Have One Arch?

Kasia Mikolajczak
McDonald's building
Unsplash | Thabang

One of the most iconic fast food establishments can be quickly recognized by its famous golden arches. I'm talking about McDonald's, of course. No other restaurant is so synonymous with its sign as McDonald's. Am I right?

But have you ever encountered a single arch instead of the one shaped like the "M"? Apparently, they do exist, and I'm about to tell you all about the history behind them. Check it out.

The Golden Arches have been a beacon to customers since the 1960s.

guy standing in front of McDonald's
Pexels | Pexels

But did you know that the sign didn't start off like that? Oh, yeah. As it turns out, there are McDonald's locations out there that only have a single arch.

OMG, what?

Steve Carrell saying "What?"
Giphy | The Office

How did I not know about that? So here's a little history lesson for you. Thirteen years after Richard and Maurice McDonald founded McDonald’s, they got the architect Stanley Meston to design their first building. And the first golden arch went up in Phoenix, Arizona.

But, the original arches were set on opposite ends of the building.

Aha! Some locations also had a single arch that held up the McDonald’s sign. That does make sense, right? But it wasn't until 1962 that the Golden Arches actually became part of the McDonald’s logo.

Oh my gosh!

a man saying "that makes sense."
Giphy | CBC

The change in the McDonald's arches design coincided with the filing of a U.S. trademark on the name "McDonald's," which was approved in 1968. Wow! How interesting is that, huh? That same year the Golden Arches as we know them today became a standard.

That's so cool, no?

McDonald's with a single arch sign
reddit | u/iwatchyoupee

But get this, you can still find the original signs at a few select locations. And now they have become popular destinations for road-trippers and history buffs alike. I totally get that. In fact, it would be awesome to find one of these old signs.

Don't you think so?

single arch McDonald's sign
twitter | Twitter | @nonstandardmcd

Apparently, out of the 38,000 plus McDonald’s locations around the globe, 12 of these long-standing spots still exist today. Yipee! I wonder if somebody found them all, ha, ha. I think it would be so amazing to find one of these vintage McDonald's during a road trip.

Check this out.

There's even a Twitter account devoted to documenting unique-looking McDonald's. And there's a thread devoted to the sightings of the single-arched McDonald’s as well. Oh, yeah! I'm not surprised by that at all, haha.

And, there's a Reddit group as well.

reddit logo
Unsplash | Brett Jordan

In it, people challenge each other to spot the most elusive McDonald's locations all over the world. Oh, I need to check that out. I think it would be so interesting to see.

So, have you spotted a single-arched McDonald's during your travels?

woman saying "this is the coolest thing ever!"
Giphy | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

So, have you spotted a single-arched McDonald's during your travels? If yes, then please do tell us about its location. Who knows, there could be a hidden gem in your neighborhood that you didn't even know existed, hee-hee. I don't know about you, but I love discovering unique history fun facts like these.