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Fri Feb 16, 2018, 11:12 AM

Devil on the 'Go to Church' sign has an intriguing backstory

I bet every state has at least one of these 'stranger than fiction' stories!

Source: AL.com, by Kelly Kazek


This familiar "iconic" sign on I 65 between Montgomery and Birmingham is going back up after a storm took it down a while ago:




There is another "iconic" roadside attraction between Montgomery and Prattville on HWY 31. This thing is so "out there" a few years ago I got my family to don tin-foil hats and pose around it for photos (lost in a computer crash). We called it "The Pratt." What the hell is this?




Now, the rest of the story.


In this photo, the Red Devil sign is seen in front of the Tan-Kar Oil Service Station. It is this devil that W.S. Newell used on his iconic "Go to Church or the Devil Will Get You" sign that has been seen along Interstate 65 since 1988. It is currently being replaced following a storm but the original devil was saved.

Do you see what's lurking in the background in this photo?





After the story was published, I received an email from Ralph Foster, a reader who told me the sign was not the first appearance of the long-tailed devil.

"The red devil silhouette actually is much older," he wrote. "It was part of a tin sheet-metal neon sign on Highway 31 between Montgomery and Prattville, marking the Tan-Kar gas station at Red Devil Lake. The devil sign survived the closure and demolition of the old station and remained abandoned on the highway until Mr. [W.S.] Newell acquired it from the property owners. He then used it on his now famous 'Go to Church' sign."

On the left, there is that "thing" again.




And then (some might say, "Of course!" ):

In August of 1939, the dam at Red Devil Lake burst. The book "Prattville, Alabama: A Brief History of the Fountain City" includes this recollection from resident Gene Kerlin: "It was the worst flood Prattville ever had. The Red Devil dam broke. A railroad trestle downtown was also destroyed in the flood." The waters caused $250,000 in damage, the book said.


Read all of it at:http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2018/02/devil_on_the_go_to_church_sign.html#incart_m-rpt-2

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Reply Devil on the 'Go to Church' sign has an intriguing backstory (Original post)
yallerdawg Feb 2018 OP
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2018 #1
yallerdawg Feb 2018 #2

Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Fri Feb 16, 2018, 12:34 PM

1. Kelly has a good book out about ala. places and stories.

Might even have more than one book.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 16, 2018, 12:51 PM

2. Looks like she's seen a lot!

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