The Rustic Landscape of Rim Village, 1927-1941
Many early informational and directional signs at Rim Village were made of wood. Cedar posts were used for permanence and each unit was designed so that by removing a rod, the sign could be taken down and stored over the winter, preventing cracking of the enamel lettering through expansion of the wood.
In 1934, sketches were prepared for new signs at the rim that were considered visually “appealing and appropriate in character.” In 1935, three rustic signs were completed for Rim Village; one for the Sinnott Memorial, one for the Rim Drive, and one for the Naturalist. The new signs were “vigorous” in scale, comprised of large sections of pine (4 feet in diameter) set on log foundations. Lettering was created by cutting and chiseling into the flat surface of the log. The background surface was stained to increase the visual contrast on the sign (between the letters and the surface) and to reduce maintenance. Letters were then painted a “conspicuous bright orange” so that the signs were both “effective and readable” from a distance of 40-50 feet.
By 1936, however, maintenance on the wood signs throughout the park was high enough to warrant reconsideration of the material standards used previously. Suggestions were made to replace the wood signs with metal ones in all but “one or two places where signs should be carved from logs as in keeping with the general characteristics of the surroundings.” One of these places was Rim Village.
In 1938, new signs were fashioned for the rim that were more “contemporary,” but still in keeping with the rustic idiom. Still comprised of wood, the new signs incorporated multiple upright posts on each side of a rectangular plate, and were sited to enhance visibility (placed against a group of trees) yet placed so as not to obstruct views. Letters were carved and raised about 1/2-inch above the surface and painted. Ten additional directional signs were also constructed and placed at the rim during this year. All of these signs were single post and cross arm signs under 4 feet in height. Lettering on these signs was also painted a bright orange, matching the colors and material form of the larger signs throughout the rim.