upon a time, Bright & Early
Coffee and Tea signs, usually painted on the sides of barns and country stores,
could be found in most Southern states, including Texas.
Today, finding a Bright & Early sign is as hard to find as a Model-T Ford.
Both have vanished from the American landscape.
The only Bright & Early
sign I know of in East Texas is painted
on the side of a small grocery store in the crossroads settlement of Bugscuffle
beside Highway 84, a few miles west of Mount
Enterprise in Rusk County.
One of the few Bright & Early signs is found on the site of an abandoned store
in the community of Bugscuffle, east of Mount Enterprise in Rusk County. Photo
courtesy Bob Bowman.|
|Admittedly, I may
have missed others, and I will probably get some telephone calls or e-mail messages
about other Bright & Early signs. At least, I hope so.|
The store at Bugscuffle
closed years ago and the faded Bright & Early sign is almost obscured by trees,
vines and bushes. But people regularly stop and shoot photographs of the sign.
Incidentally, there are a lot of small Texas communities named Bugscuffle. Some
of them are often confused with Bug
Tussle in Fannin County.
Ancel Nunn, a remarkable Palestine
artist, made Bright & Early Coffee and Tea famous, but not for their taste.
created a number of paintings of Bright & Early signs and, today, they’re cherished
by art lovers.
Another Bright & Early sign stood for years at Smithville
in Bastrop County, but it wasn’t a real ad. It was painted for a movie, “Hope
Floats,” which was filmed in the Smithville
Movie makers often created fake signs as background movie sets,
but they seldom lasted as long as the real signs did.
am told there
were “real” Bright and Early signs on the sides of buildings at Hico,
Hamilton County, in the Texas Hill Country, and at Junction
in Kimble County.
Bright & Early Coffee isn’t entirely dead. In the Heights
area of Houston, there’s a Bright &
Early Coffee stand, but I suspect it doesn’t serve the original brand, but something
more akin to Star Bucks.
And I doubt they serve Bright and Early Tea.
February 16, 2009
Bowman's East Texas>
weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
Grandfather and Father painted those signs >
Bright & Early Coffee and Tea
Ghost Signs | Texas Food | East
Texas | Columns
Bright and Early Signs
recently found and read Mr. Bowman's short article on the Bright and Early Signs.
My Grandfather and Father painted those signs all over the place and I
even traveled short distances out of Houston
to watch them and clean brushes at the ripe age of about 6 or 7. We even did
some with the chicken on them. I had Dad do a reproduction in about 2001 just
before he passed away.... It might still be hanging on the garage in Austin?
I have some Bright and Early coffee tins and jars with coffee still in them but
can't seem to find anyone that knows much about their collectability.
you look down in the lower right hand corner of the original signs you will find
the name of Dallas Ford, which stood for both Dad and Granddad. I too am
A Dallas Ford. Thanks for the article. - November 21, 2011
and Early Coffee and Tea" sign in Hico|
Photo courtesy historictexas.net, September 2005