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signs . MS Hwy 31S No.2

I just love the shapes of water towers. They are industrial and agricultural and geometric all at the same time. Beyond that, they communicate places in often the most basic ways — a town title, a community name that says “here is a place where folks use water.” Every small town in Mississippi (every small town everywhere) is dotted with them. Every major highway and every back road offers a view of one at some point along the journey.

This particular water tower was in the town of Polkville, Mississippi. My grandmother was raised there, and in my recent trek through the central part of the state, I had the opportunity to see the signs of life it had to offer. Like many small towns in the area, Polkville sported a town “welcome” sign — handpainted with the state flower of Mississippi.

I pulled over to capture the juxtaposition of White’s handpainted letters, the 7094 road marking and the standard gas station flip letters of 1950s fame that are still in abundant use today. White’s is apparently Polkville’s definition of one-stop shopping. Grab your own fixings, sit down for a snack, gas up and play before heading on down the road.


  1. Hi, I was raised in Polkville, MS. I however had the opportunity while growing up to travel a good bit. Who was your Grandmother’s family from Polkville. My youngest brother is mayor of the Town of Polkville.
    I like your pictures of the old water tower and of course White’s Cafe or as we know it Nollie’s.

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