It’s been a milestone for at least 50 years – maybe 60 – but it came down on Tuesday.
A friend texted me that morning, very curious as to what could be going on with the “Warning, Prepare to Meet God” sign. It’s located at the Interstate 30 North Frontage Road at the intersection of Wright Avenue. (For those of you about to ask, that’s next to Applebee’s.)
It was Lyndsey Taylor’s words coming through my phone. She’s the owner of Wild Boutique in downtown Benton. She asked, “Why are they taking the sign down?”
As the owner of MySaline, I’m supposed to know everything, but that’s not always the case. However, I assured her I’d figure it out. I quickly got my answer by calling a family member who is among ownership of the property.
The sign was indeed coming down, but it was also going back up with a new vinyl face, according to Benton City Councilman Steve Lee. His part-ownership comes through marriage to his wife, Sharon, and her side of the family. Her parents once owned the land.
What Lee didn’t know is how long exactly the sign had been there. He said it was there when he married into the family in 1973, so that’s at least 48 years.
When I arrived on the scene, some men working on the project agreed that the sign was there before Interstate 30 was built. The Interstate opened in 1957 in Texas and extended northeast through central Arkansas by somewhere around 1960. That would increase its longevity to over 60 years. Maybe some readers will help solve this mystery.
When the sign was first erected, it bore the name “Sharon Missionary Baptist Church.” It was first located on the west side of Wright Avenue, where Applebee’s now has their parking lot. The men working on the project are members of the church, and also some from Ramsey Trucking. The company donated the new sign supplies and equipment to install it.
At some point decades ago – and for a reason that perhaps could be attributed policy of the Arkansas Department of Transportation – the sign had to change. It was refurbished then with the new phrase, and has undergone repairs before this latest round. And so it became a phrase that thousands of passersby would see and remember. It would be a phrase that restaurant and store and hotel employees would utter over the phone when asked where they are located… just past the sign that says “Warning, Prepare to Meet God.”
@arkansasshelliGo to mysaline.com & search prepare sharon sign. ##bentonarkansas ##weirdplaces ##funnysigns ##signs ##arkansas ##preparetomeetgod ##mysaline♬ God’s Country (Acoustic) – Blake Shelton