“We’re in preservation mode, trying to keep as many barns as possible for nostalgic purposes as well as for advertising,” said Roy Davis, manager of SRC’s R&R Hospitality. “Unfortunately, we can only maintain the paint on the barn and not the structure itself. If the barn becomes in total disarray or is taken out by a storm, then we lose it and cannot replace it due to highway laws.”
The Ladybird Act, as the billboard-banning legislation was nicknamed, meant that many of Rock City’s rooftop messages had to be removed beginning in the 1960’s.
With only 79 SRC barns still maintained from the original 900, this barn on Highway 68 has now been given a fresh coat of paint for travelers to enjoy. Barn owner Elsie Buhaly contacted Rock City about the paint diminishing and said many tourists still stopped to photograph it. She and her husband chose to buy the property in 1979 mostly because of the barn with the “See Rock City” message on the roof.
The barn had originally been painted in 1959, when Clark Byers was still the official sign painter for SRC. Byers began his 35-year career in 1935 after the instruction of advertising genius Garnet Carter, Rock City’s founder.
“This particular barn is considered a landmark barn, featured in media like Southern Living Magazine and many other publications,” said Davis. “Years from now. we want grandkids pointing to See Rock City barns and getting their grandparents to tell them stories of when they saw these barns. This painting is another step in keeping the memories alive.”
Source: See Rock City