At the Archives of the City of Kingsport, we love downtown history, archival images, and research. Put those loves together and you get our latest exhibit.“That’s a Good Sign” takes archival photographs of Kingsport businesses and zooms in on the signs that graced their facades. Fortunately, the archives houses the collections of commercial photography studios like Thomas McNeer Jr., Carl Swann, and David Peirce. Combined with the photographs from the Chamber of Commerce Collection, this exhibit spans 16 years of the history of 22 downtown Kingsport business.
The Beacon Drive-in opened in January of 1954 on W. Center St. (It just narrowly missed out on being in my Dinner at the Diner exhibit.) After 10 years, the Trayer’s chain out of Bristol took over the restaurant.
The contents of Thomas McNeer Jr.’s McNeer Studio is one of the foundational collections of the archives. His passion for preserving the city’s cultural history led to the archives’ beginnings upon his retirement in 1982.
Come to the library during the holidays with your friends and family and visit our “That’s a Good Sign” exhibit on the main floor (through the end of January ’18) or our “Painted Brick” exhibit in the archives lobby. Afterwards, enjoy the new Santa Train sculpture on Main, holiday lighting adorning the downtown, and the new Church Circle Christmas tree.
Feature image: The Oakwood Market facade on Sullivan.