You might have come across a “See Rock City” barn before. This was an advertising campaign created by a man named Garnet Carter and his wife Freida to promote their Rock City Gardens attraction, located just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee.

A number of these barns still exist, though the number is dwindling. These advertisements started appearing in 1935 and went up for the next 30+ years. At one time there were as many as 900 such barns throughout the South and Midwest. From The Tennessean:

Rock City Gardens, which opened in 1932, featured panoramic views from atop Lookout Mountain as well as unusual rock formations. Frieda also added scenes and gnome-like figures to the gardens to create “fairylands” and other visual surprises.

In 1935, Carter had the idea to advertise on barn roofs along routes leading to the attraction, eventually advertising on barns from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, according to SeeRockCity.com. He hoped the signs would lure Americans, who had just begun traveling again as the Great Depression ended, to his unique attraction. It worked.

The number of such signs had dropped to around 100 at the time this article was written, about six years ago. Apparently one remains in the Ethridge, Tennessee community (or at least did in 2012, when this photo was taken). An Amishman passes by in this shot.

The various old-timey metal signs complete the nostalgic effect. I spy Greyhound, Coca-Cola, and Purina.

I doubt this Amishman has ever Seen Rock City, though you can if you want to.

Image: Brent Moore/flickr


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