Tuesday, September 8, 2009

All Signs Point To North Carolina

I spent the long Labor Day weekend visiting my wonderful sister in Mooresville, North Carolina -- taking pictures, playing Yahtzee, chewing the fat. Mooresville tends to be more Southern than not (patrol cars are decorated with checkered flags, its alias is Race City, Dale Jr. lives there, etc.,) so the Americana is bountiful. Since there's very little rain in Mooresville, or precipitation generally, outdoor signs and structures degrade very slowly. Old things appear new and they're not replaced. It's a photogenic place, in other words.

The business signage in the following gallery is mostly drawn from Main Street in Mooresville. The Grand Overlook sign is taken from, well, the Grand Overlook.


Love that stencil work. It's how Sam Spade's name would have been detailed on the door to his office in The Maltese Falcon.

The D.E. Turner & Co. hardware store has been staple of Main Street for over 100 years, and it's still owned by the Turner family. Not only are the shelves stocked with the usual fare -- nails, lightbulbs, sandpaper -- but they also have vintage typewriters, Radio Flyer wagons and tin washtubs. The shelves also extend a good fifteen feet high.

You might do well to purchase a watercolor of the storefront.

You're looking out at the Yadkin Valley, by golly.

The Grandview Overlook is one of the many scenic overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway, reputed to be among the most beautiful drives in the States. Which it was, lodged in between construction detours. Alas.

Across the road were criss-crossing, rolling hills, green as Irish Spring. The sound of insects in the hills -- what I assumed to be cicadas but was later told were locusts -- outdid the passing cars. If ever asked, "How do you know when you're in the country?" this will be my answer.

Note the puffy, cloud-like theme to the sign's lettering. Fitting, since at 3,240 feet above sea level you practically stand in the clouds.

A quiltery (new word for me), whose name I didn't record. I do know that Pfaff is the name of a brand of sewing machine. Banners of fabric, of all imaginable types, hung from all conceivable angles and spaces in the store.

It doesn't come through in the photograph, but the colors of both the Coca-Cola and Livery signs are incredibly vibrant. The "Relieves Fatigue" slogan dates back, I believe, to a time when Coca-Cola had traces of a narcotic other than caffeine. It's never stopped being "Delicious and Refreshing," of course. According to an artist's note in the bottom right corner of the sign, it was last touched up in 1995.

If you're yearning for more vintage Coca-Cola wall ads, there's a great collection here.

Q: What's better than ice cream? A: De-Luxe Ice Cream!

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