Saturday, October 24, 2015

Remember the Big Sign at Thistle~~~by Pearl Madsen Olsen

Soon after 1930 an itinerant called on John K. (Madsen) in Mt. Pleasant and asked for a painting job.  During their conversation they decided that to paint a large roadside sign would be a novel and informative thing to do.  John K. had toyed with the idea of doing something of the sort to help direct ram buyers to his ranch.

They sometimes drove north rather than south, after arriving at Thistle, when approaching from the east via Price, Utah.  Modern road maps were not as easy to obtain nor as complete as they later became ~so strange, prospective buyers could benefit by some additional directions on a sign.

The coming of the painter was timed right.  While riding to Thistle he and John K. explored and evaluated various possibilities.  The place most favored by John K. was on the face of a mountain west of Thistle.  But because of its inaccessability they decided against the location.  At last they settled on the jutting rock protruding from the north mountain that faced the big bridge leading to the south road.  Mt. Pleasant was approximately 35 miles south of Thistle.

There was an almost smooth surface on the protruding rock and it provided an excellent base for a sign.  An area of about 25 by 30 feet was marked off and painted black and white.....

It was an immediate attention getter and could be seen by anyone approaching it from any direction.  John K. was pleased with the sign and with the workmanship.  The paint proved to be of superior quality and was repainted only once during its years after a layer of rock slipped off the sign several years following its initial painting.

A nephew of John K's, Allan Madsen, was an art student, and he was hired to repaint the sign.  That second coat endured, remaining on the rock-point until the new Highway 89 improvement program demolished it, in order to widen the road.  The State Highway department office personnel are unable to furnish the date of the demolition.  They say only that it was in one of the early years of  the 1960's.

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