Welcome To Our Fine City

Many towns use their historic (or newer) water tanks to announce their name to visitors, such as Mendenhall or nearby Magee. But others go the extra mile, getting creative with landscaping to bring their name closer to earth. Possibly the oldest such “landscaping sign” I’ve seen is at Edwards, where large concrete letters welcome one and all at the main T intersection where the 2-story old Edwards Consolidated School once stood. I assume this lettering was here when the school was operating–it looks like the 1950s to me, although I can’t say why exactly.

All of us who have driven Interstate 20 have noticed the two Scott County rivals, Forest and Morton, with their names spelled out in bushes at their interstate exits. A few years back, I noticed that the letter “T” had completely died in “Morton.” It seems that some ingenious and nefarious teenagers in Forest had poured Roundup on the bush in the dark of night before the big Forest-Morton football game. They were severely disciplined for their dastardly deed, and of course, MissPres’ official position is one of disapproval for the killing of any bush in anyone’s front or back yard, much less their interstate bush sign.

Morton might have the more easily “editable” name, but they get points for better presentation, with their bushes on a better incline and more easily read from the right-of-way. And of course the American flag. Could use some weeding though currently.

Then there’s the simple Water Valley sign on Highway 7, possibly made of sheet metal (?) And I know I have a picture somewhere of the McComb sign on I-55, but can’t lay my hands on it just now. I’m sure there must be others around the state, but these are the ones I’ve noticed and actually had time to stop and take a picture of.



Categories: Historic Preservation, Water Tower/Water Tank

9 replies

  1. I always thought the Water Valley signs were concrete. There are two of them, one at each entrance into town from 7. My friend told the story of during her college days at Ole Miss, one night they were out driving around and someone had stolen the W and the V. They thought they were lost as no one knew where Ater Alley was.

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  2. Very interesting compilation – thinking about how communities express their local pride. My mother graduated from the Edwards school in 1947, and I do believe the sign was already there. But is it gone now? In the “Mississippi is just one small town” category, I was attending a meeting at the University of California, Merced this spring when I was approached by a young student who had heard me mention “Mississippi.” She was a third generation Californian whose ancester had helped construct the “Edwards” sign! Alas, I don’t have contact info on her and we didn’t get into dates at the time.

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    • Wow, what a coincidence! And how interesting that her grandfather or great grandfather had passed down that particular story–must have been very important to him! And that must also mean it’s much older than the 1950s. As far as I know it’s still there, at least was when I took these pics last summer.

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  3. Doesn’t that Edwards sign face the railroad? I always thought it was there to let rail passengers know where they were.

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  4. So glad to see the water tanks! How ’bout an article profiling water tanks especially old ones? Or have we had that already?

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  5. Really fun and interesting reading – thanks! I’ve always enjoyed the painted rock or metal/concrete letters and the water towers letting you know where you are. Puts the standard boring highway signs to shame. So quintessentially Southern.

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