Johnson City TN

I took this just because it’s rare to see an extant date this early.  This building is near Majestic Park.

Even though I enhanced this, it’s still hard to read: “The Unaka And City National Bank”


Near Big A Mountain, Southwest VA

This was one of those “Stop the car!” pix.  It’s probably not that old, but the fact that it’s unfinished and somewhat perplexing as to what the name was going to be interested me.  I think it was going to be “Dandridge” and the painter realized he didn’t have room to put all those letters in.  Maybe he just gave up.

Bristol TN/VA

Our weather here isn’t kind to outdoor paint-up signs.  At least two signs I remembered from Bristol are gone now, so faded you can’t tell what they once advertised.  So it goes.

This building went up in 1909 and, in 1910, the original Bristol sign was erected on its roof. The building is now being auctioned off.

Cumberland KY

Without doing deep research (and I am really quite tired this evening), all I can tell you in a historical way, about Cumberland is that it was formed up in 1826 and rode the coal boom later. Here’s the Wiki entry.  It’s part of the Tri-Cities area in Kentucky: Cumberland, Benham, Lynch.  I slouched around the town and got three interesting (to me) pictures:

And then this one (I’ve never heard of Ball Bros. Foodranch before)

Kingsport TN

Kingsport’s not a particularly old town.  It was firmly chartered in 1917 (there’d been a previous Kingsport a couple of miles to the west, but it lost its way after the Civil War).  Most of the interesting signs have vanished, but here’s a sample of what lingers:

Both the top and side signs of this old furniture store are in pretty good shape, surprisingly.  This was probably painted up in the 40s.

This was one of the major grocery suppliers in the area for ages.  I believe it closed in the late 60s.  The very faint sign is for Gray Seal Paint.

This is the back of the old Sterchi Bros. store.  It’s pronounced STIR-key…everyone called it Sterchi’s.  The “…atkin” looks like a paintover that didn’t last.


I found a couple more paint ups while I was walking in downtown Kingsport.  This one is the back of a building that fronts on Commerce Street, across from WKPT’s studios.  When I came to this town, the building housed Montgomery Ward, but it was built by Harry Mills.  It’s hard to read, but it says “Mills Motors”.


This one is really hard to see.  It’s on the side of the old apartment building at 315 Cherokee Street.  This building was erected by what would become Latimer-Looney Chevrolet (they later moved to East Sullivan Street, in a building that’s now a church, I think – it’s behind the old Krispy Kreme building.  As kids, we’d drop by now and again to see a Jaguar – I think it was a Jaguar – they had in the showroom. Swanky)  This paint up identifies the building as “Kingsport Chevrolet”.  That window above “Chevrolet” was, when we lived there in the late 50s, the apartment of old Mrs. Haney, the widow of a man who had owned several restaurants downtown in the 40s.