The World Needs God Neon Sign
Updated: Aug 27, 2021
Restoration of "The World Needs God" neon sign in Hillsboro Illinois.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued Montgomery County Illinois for displaying a neon sign with the words: "The World Needs God." The sign was placed on the courthouse the week of October 14, 1940 by Orrie Hancock a Sunday School teacher who thought it would drive bootleggers out of Hillsboro. In February 1996, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors decided to remove the sign from the courthouse because the county could not afford to pay additional court costs. In December 1998 the sign went though some restoration. The sign now hangs on the exterior wall of a church building on the Montgomery County Courthouse Square in Hillsboro. In August 2016 several tubes failed and it was determined that the entire sign would be temporarily removed so a full restoration could be done on the sign. Since the last restoration in 1998 the sign burned 24 hours a day 7 days a week for nearly 18 years = over 150,000 hours.
The World Needs God neon sign shown on the Montgomery County Courthouse Christmas 1963. Photo courtesy of Historical Society of Montgomery County Illinois
Before the ACLU lawsuit - The World Needs God neon sign summer 1991. Photo provided by: William Floyd
The porcelain sign faces were removed. All the hardware was removed and the porcelain was cleaned. New patterns were created for the replacement neon tubes.