published Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Georgia bill boosts ‘See Rock City’ barns

 Jim Byers, right, and Don Parris repaint "See Rock City" on the top of an old barn off U.S. Highway 27 near LaFayette, Ga.
Jim Byers, right, and Don Parris repaint "See Rock City" on the top of an old barn off U.S. Highway 27 near LaFayette, Ga.
Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse.

A Georgia state Senate bill would promote barns advertising Georgia tourist destinations, according to a news release.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, passed the Senate on Monday 49 to 0.

“Barns painted with ‘See Rock City’ have been a highway staple in Northwest Georgia since the Depression era,” said Mullis in the release. “However, these historic structures are disappearing rapidly. I’m proud to have sponsored this bill to keep part of our state’s history alive.”

The bill would allow individuals to pay to restore and use barns or other agricultural structures erected before 1965 that had once advertised Georgia tourist destinations.

The first “See Rock City” signs were painted on barns along U.S. 41 in 1935. Farmers who allowed their barns to be painted often received free passes to Rock City. By 1969, over 900 of these barns advertised Rock City to drivers headed South.

The barns became famous throughout the country and could be found in 19 states. But federal legislation banning billboards caused many of the advertisements to be removed.

The House of Representatives will be considering the bill, the release said.

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