Kingsport: Painting the Town II

Once you start looking for painted brick, you just can’t stop finding it! That’s what happened to me after the City Archivist challenged me to find the examples of this early Kingsport form of marketing. I thought I was finished with the project. I turned in my disc, proof sheet, and index and then . . .I started finding more brick. In fact, I became so obsessed, when I would see a big, blank, brick wall, I’d think, “What a shame! Someone could have painted that!” I even started noticing the painted brick in other towns I’d visit.

Some of the advertisements I found were beyond the edges of downtown.

Motor Parts of Kingsport at 2110 E. Center St.

Motor Parts of Kingsport at 2110 E. Center St.

Some signs seemed to be hidden just above eye level. I walked past this one on three occasions before I saw it in the alley of 166 Broad St.

116BroadStLfSide

N. E. Lewis “Sells It For Less”

Some signs are almost completely washed away, like this “Lunch” sign.

No longer standing, this lunch spot beside 126 W. Main St. once served the train station customers.

No longer standing, this lunch spot beside 126 W. Main St. once served the train station customers.

And some signs are no longer legible.

Alley beside 133 Shelby St.

Alley beside 133 Shelby St. Any ideas?

Some signs have stayed safely hidden for decades!

Construction on Broad Street in March, 2014.

Construction on Broad Street in March, 2014.

The Doane Furniture Co. at 205 Broad St. went out of business in 1933.

The Doane Furniture Co. at 205 Broad St. went out of business in 1933.

Some painted brick examples I discovered are a little more modern.

737 E. Market St.

737 E. Market St.

And some examples, while certainly historic, stretch the “painted brick” definition.

The Clinchfield Portland Cement Co. changed its name to Penn-Dixie in 1926.

The Clinchfield Portland Cement Co. changed its name to Penn-Dixie in 1926.

Lastly, there is one painted brick announcement that was photographed with the first batch of businesses, but its significance was not realized until recently.

The Dobyns-Taylor Warehouse at Clinchfield and Press Streets had a former life as a mill.

The Dobyns-Taylor Warehouse at Clinchfield and Press Streets had a former life as a mill. Notice remnants of both signs are visible.

A vintage postcard of the former Kingsport Hosiery Mills, now Dobyns-Taylor Warehouse.

A vintage postcard of the former Kingsport Hosiery Mills, now Dobyns-Taylor Warehouse.

I still need to burn a new CD for the archives, update the index, and print a new proof sheet, but I think I am finally finished. Or am I?

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One Response to Kingsport: Painting the Town II

  1. Kathleen Fueston says:

    I loved the original story and had been noticing it throughout my little town of Lehi, UT and other towns in Utah. There was definitely an era where this was the norm for advertising. It makes me wonder if there were businesses that provided the service or if companies just did their own thing. To me, it is a form of art of an era – like neon or signs that were the logo of the business (McDonald’s arches, large donut signs for donut shops, etc.) All of these reflect history and I love it!

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