The Photography of D L Ennis, and more!


Monday, August 21, 2006

Signs in the Historic Districts of the Blue Ridge

Signs play an important role in promoting a business and in getting the attention of the public. Often times as we drive down the interstate we make decisions on where we are stopping and where we spend our money based on the attractiveness of the sign that is in front of the business. Small towns more often than not do not have the ability to erect large flashing neon signs to entice us in to lay down a few bucks.

Many times as with in the regions of the Blue Ridge there are historic districts and zoning laws governing exactly how a business can promote itself. In an age where bigger is better many downtown areas are forced to be creative in self promotion. With the various restrictions that are in place to preserve the historic beauty of an area, business owners more often seem to drift back to a time of simplicity in design. Enter the world of hand carved, hand created, artistic sign making. In the days of old these were often called “shingles” due to the fact that many shop owners usually made their own signs from wooden shingles that were found or split from a piece of hardwoood like oak or hickory. Wooden shingles were easy and simple to make and was the roofing material of choice to homesteaders.

Sign making has since graduated to be more more of a fine art than a simple way to promote your business and get noticed. Ranging from the simple to the creative and complex, wooden signs are adorning the historic ares of the Blue Ridge more and more. Below is a sampling of the many signs that can be seen in downtown Jonesborough Tennessee today. Crafted by gifted artists with modern tools and made to be reminiscent of days gone by, the pictures speak for themselves.


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