One Of The Last—Northeast Alabama B/W
In 1935, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, 22-year-old Clark Byers began painting “Visit Rock City” on barns along U. S. Highways.
When Byers retired in 1968, he had some nine hundred barns in nineteen states to his credit. There are now fewer than one hundred remaining.
The property owner was usually compensated with free passes to Rock City, and a sack full of promotional items such as a thermometer. Those not needing a thermometer were paid $3.00.
The highway beautification act in the mid 1960s, or the Ladybird Act as it was nicknamed, required many of the Rock City messages painted on barns to be removed. Byers was nearly electrocuted in 1968 during a thunderstorm while painting over a barn message. Afterward, he retired from barn painting to work his farm in Falling Water, Georgia where he died in 2004.