August 27, 2009


Rock City, a popular tourist destination, is located on top of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN. It is a kitschy mix of scenic beauty, gardens, and gnomes. You can see 7 states on a VERY clear day from Lookout Point, and as a testament to how to tall the mountain is, or rather how short everything else is, one of the Civil War battles was named Battle Above the Clouds. Locally called The Mountain, it is a beautiful place to visit disregarding the gnomes which make me happy in their own way. One of the most famous aspects of Rock City are the barns advertising the attraction.

From the Rock City website:
Rock City officially opened as a public attraction on May 21, 1932. It got off to a slow start, because advertising in those days was difficult; especially since Carter’s mountain-top attraction was not located in a place that people would just happen to be passing by and take notice. It was at this point another brilliant idea of Carter’s was born. He enlisted the help of a young sign painter named Clark Byers, who was hired to travel the nation’s highways and offer to paint a farmer’s barns in exchange for letting him paint three simple words: See Rock City. The distinctive black-and-white signs appeared as far north as Michigan and as far west as Texas. The advertising soon began to produce the desired effect and, by the close of the 1930’s, more travelers than ever had seen Rock City Gardens.
There are books dedicated to the barns, and there are still a few barns still standing that have been advertising Rock City for decades. Most advertisements are now on steel billboards dotting the interstates and highways.

As a commemoration to this spectacle and a part of Tennessee that I still love, I decided to create my own See Rock City barn.
It's a recycled cedar trunk from a cedar we chopped down, and the mailbox is an extra large USPS-approved mailbox. Apparently there are all sorts of regulations on mailboxes, so we decided to take the safe route by purchasing one that was already approved. I coated the entire box in white spray paint, taped off the bits that would remain white, coated the box in red, taped off for the roof, spray painted the black, removed all the taping, and coated the entire box in a few coats of clear paint for a bit of added protection. It took a few days because coats need a good amount of time to dry before using tape, but I'm pleased with how it came out.

So go!



  1. Very cute! I remember stopping there years! ago on the way to Florida. There were so many signs advertising it we HAD to stop. lol

  2. Adorable!!!! I enjoy Rock City, too. The views are amazing.

  3. Clever, funny, and creative! It reminds me of road trips from S.C. to O.K. each summer when I was a kid.

  4. I've been several times and love it! Your mailbox is perfect.


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