Linda Edwards was born and raised in Rocky Mount. Today I listened to some of her stories as we spent time driving around the Edgemont Historic District and surrounding areas. She named for me the people who had once lived in this wonderful architectural trove of homes, which will lead to more research and writing for this blog. To end a perfect few hours, look what we found. Not one, but TWO Rocky Mount Ghosts Signs on Albermarle & Rose Streets. Th photograph of this ghost sign says W.T. Williford and can be found on Albermarle Street.
Standing on the street trying to read this ghost sign was all but impossible, until Linda remembered the business that occupied the building, which helped break the code and we could see most of it.
Waters Bros (Roofing ?) Corner of Albermarle & Rose
Ghost signs, also known as faded ads, are the disappearing painted letters and illustrations on the sides of old buildings. They are the things that everyone sees, but no one notices. There are many reasons why they are still there. First of all, it’s the lead-based paint. It kept out water and sunlight better than modern paints. Rocky Mount must embrace and preserve our signs as part of our heritage. Urban renewal can play havoc with ghost signs because the faded look doesn’t appeal to everyone involved in architectural preservation. Demolition of old buildings or painting over the signs happens. The signs that have been preserved under plaster or by other buildings for years can be revealed in a near pristine state. Those signs are the ultimate prize revealing the best original color references and detail. Please look up, take photographs. Someday we will map them and have ghost sign tours.
HERE is the link to an earlier post with more information on Ghost Signs