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,
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
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
Photo courtesy Bob Bowman.
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
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
Ancel Nunn, a remarkable Palestine
artist, made Bright & Early Coffee and Tea famous, but not for their
Nunn 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,
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.
and Early Coffee and Tea" sign in Hico
Photo courtesy historictexas.net, September 2005
Subject: Bright and Early Signs
I 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
If 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
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