A fresh look for historic promotion: Rock City birdhouses being repainted

This is a photo of a See Rock City birdhouse sign before being repainted. / Photo courtesy of SRC Inc.

One of the most visible See Rock City birdhouses was repainted over the weekend as part of an ongoing repainting program, which will eventually repaint all of the See Rock City barns and birdhouses.

The giant 32-by-34-foot bird house along Interstate 24 in South Pittsburg was repainted Saturday, nearly a half century after it was first erected in 1972. The giant bird house is one of three such bird house signs and there are also 58 remaining barns that See Rock City plans to repaint in eight different states.

"We are in a preservation mode of trying to keep as many See Rock City signs as possible for nostalgic purposes as southern icons, as well as for advertising," said Roy Davis, manager of the R&R Hospitality sign company, which oversees the repaints.

Rock City's founder Garnet Carter hired Clark Byers, a self-taught painter who worked for a Chattanooga advertising firm, to travel across the country in the 1930s and paint the phrase "See Rock City" on barn rooftops. Two decades after the historic advertising campaign began and over 900 barns had been painted, Byers conceived the idea of building miniature See Rock City barns which he converted into See Rock City birdhouses to sell.

photo This is a photo of a See Rock City birdhouse sign after being repainted. / Photo courtesy of SRC Inc.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of birdhouses have been purchased by visitors globally, including a notable display in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.

SRC Inc. is a hospitality and entertainment company that features the world-renowned Rock City Gardens high atop Lookout Mountain along with the Battles for Chattanooga museum, RiverView Inn, Starbucks, Grandview Conference Center, the Incline Railway concessions and three year-round Clumpies Ice Cream Co. locations in Chattanooga and Blowing Springs Farm in Flintstone, Georgia.