My grandparents had a structure at the last cattle guard before their ranch house from which a sign with the name of their ranch hung.

It was two vertical poles, with a horizontal crossbeam, I guess it would be called, from which the sign hung.

What is that contraption/structure called? "They had a sign with the name of their ranch, the Walking S, hanging from ..."

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    All I've found is 'ranch entrance signs'. The signs themselves are 'hanging signs' (but this is a blanket term, covering signs hanging from brackets, as pub signs usually do). Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 12:33
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    Misreading "cattle" as "castle" made the question seem much more impressive
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 16:47
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    Generically, it could be called a frame, but a border around the sign could also be called a frame, so I don't think that's a good answer or what you're looking for. Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 23:36

4 Answers 4


The wooden ones in these pictures are described as (ranch) arches, archways, entrances and gates, even when there is no moveable gate to close off the entrance. Most of them in the illustrations display the place name.


I'd go for...

gantry (Collins Dictionary)
A gantry is a high metal structure that supports a set of road signs, railway signals, or other equipment.

enter image description here

The fact that that particular definition says a metal structure isn't significant to me. Functionally it's the same thing if it's made of wood.

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    If you take off "gantry" from your search string ("ranch entry" or "ranch entrance"), you get similar pictures, but not for "gantry" alone. Also, if you search in images, I don't think any of the captions have "gantry."
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 16:24
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    I'm not claiming "gantry" has this particular meaning very specifically. But I don't believe there's any similarly well-known term that's any more accurate for the specific sense, which is why I said I'd go for [the best available word, imho]. The most famous such structure must surely be the one at the main gate of Auschwitz concentration camp, but I skimmed the text of several pages about that without finding anything better than "gantry". Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 18:24
  • @FumbleFingers: Thanks, the second picture looks very much like their sign, too. Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 20:29

Gateway sign: Specifically a Ranch Gateway Sign

A gateway sign is any sign that demarcates a boundary between properties, regions or towns. It is always associated with an entranceway, usually a road entrance. It can be along the side of the road, but is more usually seen over the accessway.

enter image description here
or to the side
enter image description here

The "Ranch" variety is almost always an overhead structure.
enter image description here

The actual "gate" of the gateway is often omitted.


Confusingly, these are called sign standards. This, of course, makes it horrible to search for since all you get is regs and guidance for signage. However, building sign standards and occasionally installing them and their signage is one of the jobs I did under contract with the USFS in Colorado.

http://npshistory.com/publications/orca/clr.pdf (see page 41 of the PDF)

enter image description here

Now I'm not sure how useful this answer is, because it doesn't appear to be a well known term outside of landscape architecture and signage people.

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