Kingsport: Painting the Town

Before neon, there was PAINT! Beautiful, expressive paint. Kingsport merchants once announced their locations and advertised their wares by painting this information on the brick facades of downtown buildings.I was challenged by Brianne Wright, the archivist for the City of Kingsport, to find, photograph, and document the remaining painted brick advertisements in Kingsport. I found at least thirty instances of brick paintings. It was quite an Archiventure as I traipsed through alleys and down side streets with my camera and a step stool, but I was so surprised by how many hidden gems I found.

Some of the examples are old friends to us and we see them almost daily in our wanderings.

417 Sullivan Street

417 Sullivan Street

Established in 1940.

Established in 1940.

Some have faded almost completely.

Alley alongside of 101 Broad Street.

Alley alongside of 109-111 Broad Street.

A few are well-preserved . . .

Behind 235 E. Market Street.

Behind 235 E. Market Street.

and even well-documented.


Residents are likely very familiar with this example . . .

230 Revere Street.

230 Revere Street.

but did you know it once had a previous life?

244 E. Main Street.

The side of 244 E. Main Street.


Some seem to have been hidden in shame with coats of paint.

Behind 108 E. Main Street.

Behind 106-108 E. Main Street.

Some require serious searching before they can be found, but they are worth the effort.

Behind 143 Broad Street.

Behind 147 Broad Street.

Behind 255 Broad Street.

Behind 255 Broad Street.

Some have been utterly obscured by growth and construction.

Charlemont Avenue.

317 Cherokee Street.

It’s amazing how we can get so caught up with our tasks that our eyes can be closed to the history, charm, and beauty around us.

112 E. Market Street.

112 E. Market Street.

I’ll end with my very favorite example. Pack a picnic this weekend, go on an archiventure of your own, and find your favorite!

The side of 128 E. Market Street.

The side of 128 E. Market Street.

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3 Responses to Kingsport: Painting the Town

  1. Karen Cassell says:

    Love the pictures. We all need to slow down and look around. Glad you took the challenge!

  2. Kathleen Fueston says:

    You are calling out an adventure that I have been planning to have in our little town of Lehi, Utah. I am aware of several examples of “beautiful paint” as you called it and it truly is a part of history. I want to see the rest of the photos too!

    I love your work!

  3. Brianne says:

    Wow! I can not wait to see the rest. Excellent job!

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