A 52-Week Photo Journey

… Mary Nell Moore's Photography

Week 46 – #4. Bright Idea


In 1932, Rock City officially opened on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. Shortly thereafter, its owner got the “bright idea” to advertise by hiring a young painter to call on property owners who had barns on their properties and offer to paint the barns in return for allowing three little words, “See Rock City,” to be painted on the roofs. It was a huge advertising success and soon those three little words would be painted on barn roofs from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. It was not until 1966 when the young painter got married that he stopped painting barn roofs. By that time, there were 900 “See Rock City” barn roofs. A few barns are being maintained today by Rock City; however, sadly there are only about 100 presently in existence. The photo of the barn below was taken in the little Georgia town where I was born.


Author: tnwaltz

A true Southerner, I was born in Georgia but lived most of my adult life in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 2001, my husband and I retired and moved to beautiful Sarasota, FL. We quickly realized that we were not retirement material and could not play golf two or three times a week so we got our real estate licenses and affiliated with Coldwell Banker on Longboat Key. My love for photography is very beneficial to me when photographing interiors and exteriors of the homes we list. Other than photography, I have a keen interest in genealogy and golf (whenever I can find the spare time from our real estate practice).

8 thoughts on “Week 46 – #4. Bright Idea

  1. I have seen a roof or two or three. I did not know the story behind. I never followed through though as I was always in route to somewhere else.


  2. I too have seen the signs and while driving through Chattanooga have wished for more time to explore and go find Lookout Mountain. Wasn’t there a famous Civil War battle near there?


    • Yes, Chattanooga was the site of several famous battles, the first of which was Chickamauga (just south of Chattanooga in GA); the second was the battle on Lookout Mountain known as the Battle Above The Clouds; and the third was the assault on Missionary Ridge which totally broke the Confederate siege of Chattanooga and paved the way for Sherman’s march to the sea and the gutting of the Confederate Heartland, including Atlanta. (Information from my husband, a huge Civil War buff.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. not so LITTLE signs either! – how interesting! – I’m going to be watching out for them now!


  4. I can remember the time when there were so many barns with the “See Rock City”. Now they are few and far between. Reminds me of the “Wall Drug” signs you see taking the northern routes across the country.


  5. An interesting story. These barns are so traditional and iconic. They remind me of American ranches. It would be a pity to see them disappear.


  6. What an interesting tale. Thanks for sharing. I have heard of Mail Pouch Tobacco, but not Rock City.

    Liked by 1 person

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