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Tupelo, Mississippi: Neon: First TVA City Sign

Neon "First TVA City" sign celebrates Tupelo's connection to the grid in 1934. You can't have neon signs without electric power.

702 Main St., Tupelo, MS
West edge of downtown, on the northeast corner of MS-6/N. Gloster St. and Main St.
Best at night. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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TVA sign.

Tupelo: First TVA Neon Arrow Sign

The TVA Sign has long stood as an insignia of Tupelo. Standing in a small grassy area on the corner of Gloster and Main Streets (locally referred to as Crosstown), its neon lights up nightly, directing travelers to the downtown business district, "First TVA City."

In February of 1934, Tupelo became the first city to purchase electric power from the new Tennessee Valley Authority, the federal government's initiative to bring low cost hydroelectric power to rural areas in seven southern states. No records of the installation of the sign have been found. However, a document from 1954 shows the sign used as a logo, so the sign was erected some time prior to that year. The TVA Sign was listed as a local landmark on July 5th, 2011.

[Michael Hacala, 02/07/2021]

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