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.