The Real Reason Some McDonald's Only Have One Golden Arch

Perhaps one of the most iconic parts of McDonald's is the golden arches. You know, the big golden arches that beckon to hungry drivers similar to how the Statue of Liberty beckoned to weary travelers in the early 1900s. Well, sort of. You get the idea.

Anyway, according to BBC, the restaurant chain's founders wanted an eye-catching design for their new building, and so the iconic golden arches were born. Although McDonald's originated in San Bernardino, California, the first golden arches were featured at a new McDonald's in Phoenix, Arizona. 

You might've noticed that the golden arches sometimes vary from location to location. In fact, a Rocklin, CA McDonald's has red arches, a Monterey, CA McDonald's has black arches, and a Sedona, AZ McDonald's has turquoise arches (via Taste of Home). But color isn't the only thing different about some of the arches. Some McDonald's locations only have a single arch, rather than the usual two arches.

The original McDonald's design included single arches

Today, McDonald's locations with single golden arches may be an oddity, but the truth is that these locations feature the original design. The first McDonald's to include the golden arches was very different, from its roof all the way to its sign.

According to Today, the first McDonald's signs with the golden arches actually featured just a single arch, one of which can still be found in Winter Haven, Florida (via Taste of Home). These early McDonald's locations also incorporated the golden arches into the building's architecture, with a big gold arch at either end of the restaurant.

The "overlapping twin form" of the golden arches, the design we see most frequently today, didn't come about until the 1960s, a decade after the initial design rolled out.

Per Eat This, Not That, only 12 of the single golden arches were still standing as of 2020. Long story short, if you're lucky enough to see one of these strange, single arches, just know you're actually looking at a piece of fast food history.