Wednesday, September 26, 2007

When You’re Hungry, Thirsty or Tired…

This slogan has greeted generations of Itawambians at the corner of West Main and North Cummings Street in Fulton. The Senter Drug Company was established during the early 1920’s by Dr. John Senter. The business faced Cummings Street giving the long brick wall exposure to the busy Bankhead Highway (now Main Street). For years, Senter Drug Co. was a gathering place for area residents. The business not only dispensed medicines, but gift items as well. A prominent feature of the business for many years was the soda fountain and the big hand-painted soda advertisement on the south wall of the brick structure.

For many years, the advertising medium of painted advertisements on buildings was very popular and today there has been a renewed interest in the hand painted signs. During the heyday of painted advertising on buildings, almost all outdoor advertising companies offered a wall-painting service in the early years. The paint was usually brightly colored. The signs were painted usually once a year, but sometimes twice or more a year. The painters were known as "wall dogs," and they had to work with many different kinds of surfaces.

Various companies “rented” the space on buildings and would pay the building owner a monthly rental for the sign space. Thousands of these unique treasures of Americana in cities, towns, and rural areas across America are not as fortunate as Fulton’s treasure. These signs are doomed, either by destruction of the buildings that are their canvasses, a fresh new coat of paint, or simply weather and time.

Photograph by Bob Franks

1 comment:

Terry Thornton said...

Bob, Back in the late 1950s when I was a student at Itawamba Junior College located just down the hill from Senter Drug, that store's soda fountain was a favorite place for a "coke" date. During those years, male students could have a car on campus but female students could not set foot inside a car without permission of the administration! So in pretty weather we would walk our sweetie to Senter Drug for a cherry coke; if if were raining, sweetie got to walk along while you drove there high and dry while sweetie got wetter and wetter! One could judge if it were true love if sweetie would walk in the rain by herself for a cherry-coke! LOL!

Terry Thornton
Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi