This paint-up is not that old, but it hasn’t weathered well.  It’s on a shotgun building on the corner of East Market and Unicoi Streets in Kingsport TN.  The car is painted on tin and affixed to the wall.  The other side of the building has this same sign, less the car, in much better shape.  In this area, our prevailing weather comes in from the west, the direction which this sign is facing.


Volunteer Speedway

The bogie and the landing gear have been removed from this trailer.  It sits, rusting away, near Kingsport Speedway, off John B. Dennis Highway.

Kingsport Speedway dates from 1965, but Volunteer Speedway, in Bulls Gap, had its first race in 1974.

Both are still very much in business.

Hot dogs 3 for $1.00


The sign on the side of this old barn off 11W between Kingsport and Rogersville tickled me.  No business name, but “cold beer, soft drinks, cigs/3 hot dogs $1.00 picnic supplies”

How long has it been since one could procure 3 dogs for a buck?

Doane Furniture

In Kingsport TN, the space next to Wallace News is being remodeled and this sign is temporarily visible.  A view of Kingsport in 1928 seems to show the building that Wallace News now occupies (the other space, on the intersection, is empty) as standing alone on the intersection of Broad and Market Streets.  By 1958, this empty space was the Betty Gay store.  Wallace News came into being in 1941.


General Shale Research Lab

Once, there were great kilns and hundreds of types of bricks and blocks being made by this large General Shale plant in downtown Kingsport (on the other side of the tracks).  I took a bunch of pictures over here as the buildings stood open and vandalized.  I was politely asked by a policeman to take my leave.
This is the Research Lab. I always thought the lettering and imaging on this brick were quite nicely done.  I’d say this building, if isn’t gone already, will soon be.  Kingsport is turning this area into ball fields.


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.