Bird's eye view of the painted barn alongside Interstate 81
Sullivan County, TN

Bristol

Interstate 81 Barn

Located approximately 200 feet from Interstate 81 in Bristol and visible to an estimated 13.3 million travelers a year, the fourth mural in the “Everywhere You Look, UT” campaign is a nod to highway Americana and the “See Rock City” murals that inspired the project.  

The Stone family barn sits on property dating back to the 1800s that originally was owned by the Seneker family. A.D. Stone inherited the portion of the farm off Walnut Hill Road in 1927 and used the land for wheat, oats, corn, tobacco, hogs, cattle, chickens and even a family-owned grocery. Today, his grandson, George Stone, oversees the property with his wife, Marcia.

Locals familiar with the Stone family and this stretch of interstate near mile marker 74, might recall seeing another sign on the wooden barn—one that went up more than 22 years ago.

Jason Mumpower and the Stone family in front of their rustic barn with Mumpower's campaign sign
Deputy Comptroller Jason Mumpower poses with the Stone family: from left, Katye, Marcia and George Stone, Jason Mumpower

Bristol native and then-State Representative Jason Mumpower approached Stone’s father, Paul Stone, Sr., in the late ‘90s for permission to hang his campaign sign on the barn during his first run for reelection.

“It’s been just so special for the last 22 years to have my sign hanging on that barn,” said Mumpower, who represented Sullivan and Johnson counties in the Tennessee General Assembly for 14 years before transitioning in 2010 to the Comptroller’s Office, where he currently serves as deputy comptroller for the state of Tennessee.

“It’s going to be a little sad to have the sign go away, but I couldn’t think of anyone better to pass it on to than the University of Tennessee,” he said.  

The Stone family has multiple ties to UT. Stone’s late brother, Paul Stone, Jr., graduated from UT Knoxville with a chemistry degree in 1967 and spent 32 years at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York, as a photographic engineer.

Stone himself serves as assistant sports editor for the Bristol Herald Courier and has covered many UT Knoxville sporting events, including the 1998 National Championship game, which was played on Jan. 4, 1999. Stone’s son, Mike, graduated from the UT Knoxville College of Architecture and Design in 2017 and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member for the college.

The 10-foot-high by 48-foot-wide mural was painted July 18-19, 2020.

See it Yourself:

Visible from I-81 Near Mile Marker 74

Accessible from 573 Walnut Hill Road, Bristol, TN 37620

Meet the Artist

Painting a 40-foot mural on a metal grain bin in 90-degree heat calls for a special type of artist.

Troy Freeman started his mural painting career while still in high school, painting mascots for his and area schools before advancing to sign painting work for local farmers and then founding his own business.

Free Sky Studios, Inc. is a Springfield, Illinois, based professional mural and sign painting business providing commercial and residential clients with a professional source for quality, creative work. With more than 20 years of experience, Troy focuses on delivering quality service marked with exceptional talent and professionalism in every project.

From a 65-foot corn cob to 4-story Frank Lloyd Wright tribute mural, Troy has the experience and expertise to tackle any location we envision.

Troy Freeman
Owner and Lead Artist
Free Sky Studios, Inc.
217-544-8634
info@freeskystudios.com
freeskystudios.com