midcentury motels. it’s amazing the little pockets of america where signs like this still survive. very few of the motel restaurants or coffee shops still function, but in little desert towns like Lone Pine and Bishop and the dodgy outskirts of Lancaster, California you can still find successions of sketchy motor inns all in a row with rusty signs that look a lot like these.
I found this rusted old sign off the beaten path while walking on the abandoned Old Citico Road this afternoon. The sign was a survey marker for the TVA, acting as an indicator of the land they had confiscated before the completion of the Tellico Dam in Lenior City. There’s no telling how long the sign had been there, but considering that the Little Tennessee River Valley was flooded in 1978, it may have very well sat there for nearly 40 years or possibly longer. I’ve done some research on this particular sign’s design and according to what I’ve found, the Tennessee Valley Authority had used these during the 1930s. They are extremely rare finds, given that they were made of porcelain.
It is possible that the TVA may have already started surveying the area when the property was owned by the Carson family, who had owned and operated one of the largest dairy farms in the southeast at the time.
This can be found off the abandoned Old Citico Road in Vonore, Tennessee.