A handful of local historical markers are now easier on the eyes.
The restoration of 10 Corinth landmark signs is complete after 18 months of work by an Ohio company. The project is the brainchild of local businessman and historian Sandy Williams, who said he took on the project because no one else would.
"There's some things in our community that no one seems to take responsibility for," Williams told the Daily Corinthian. "I think some people believe the markers are the responsibility of the state, but they only approve placement."
It's the Mississippi Department of Archives and History who must receive applications for placement of Mississippi historical markers. The department then looks to a local organization to take on the cost of installation and maintenance.
"We live on Fillmore Street ... in the middle of a cluster of these signs and I see them every day," said Williams. "Faded and hard to read. I see tourists coming through and it just pains me to see them attempting to read or take photos of these awful looking signs."
Williams got to work trying to locate a company able to do a complete restoration on the signs. He found local companies who could do a partial restoration, but not complete. He soon found his answer with the original manufacturer of the signs -- Sewah Studios in Marietta, Ohio. In addition to restoring the signs, they also completely powder coated them for added long longevity.
"They agreed to pay for the shipping costs if we were able to ship at least 10 at a time, so that was our goal," said Williams.
While he saved on shipping cost, the total restoration cost of the signs and the replacement cost of some of the poles netted over $9,000. He would find help with a local business and homeowner who footed the bill for the historical markers on their property.
Long Wholesale paid for the Battery Williams sign, while Bailey Williams covered the cost of his Battery Powell sign.
The CARE Foundation gave $2,500 to the project and the Visit Corinth tourism office matched that. Those funds covered the cost of six markers including the City of Corinth sign at Main and Fillmore streets.
"That's our oldest one, first erected in the 1950s. It has been hit by so many vehicles over the years," Williams said. "That marker was actually completely replaced, so it's a brand new sign."
Others replaced were the Grant's Headquarters sign at Corinth City Hall, the Johnston's Headquarters sign on Fillmore Street, the Battery Robinett sign at Linden and Fillmore streets, a sign at Henry Cemetery and a Civil War earthwork sign on Shiloh Road.
Williams covered the cost for two sign restorations -- one in front of he and his wife's house at the The Oak Home and a sign across the street at the Fillmore Street Chapel.
Williams has heard from many people since the last markers got reinstalled earlier this month.
"People are noticing and expressing their appreciation," he said.
Although 10 signs have a refreshed look, Williams said more need attention.
"There are probably five to 10 more than need to be done," he said. "It would be a great project for a civic club to take on."
He said the CARE Foundation would likely assist anyone willing to help match funds on such a project.
"These markers are a reflection of our community, so getting them looking good again should be a priority," said Williams.
Other work is needed around town.
"Someone willing to do some cleaning and maybe some touch-up painting on the interpretive panels would also be great -- we just need some Windex and some elbow grease," Williams added.
Those signs have metal legs and frames with a plexiglass top cover insert. A few of them can be found near the train tracks in the clock tower parking lot, but Williams said they are also located all over the county.
"They actually need to be inventoried, photographed and cataloged," he added. "That would be a good project for a scout group."
(For more information or to help with restoration and cleaning of historical signs in Alcorn County, contact Williams at 662-287-1433.)