Something’s missing from the new “Welcome to Marshville” signs – they no longer say “Home of Randy Travis.”
Marshville replaced its two welcome signs this summer because the old ones were falling apart, Town Manager Fern Shubert said. The signs stand on U.S. 74 at both ends of the tiny eastern Union County town.
Shubert said the changes she approved had nothing to do with a spate of high-profile problems the Marshville native and country star has had in recent years. That includes arrests for public intoxication and driving while intoxicated after he crashed his car while driving naked in Texas.
Shubert said the move was made to make the signs easier to read for people zipping along the busy road. Many folks thought those signs were “too busy,” she said.
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The signs had read “Marshville Home of Randy Travis & Country Living” and were adorned with multiple symbols, including a train, corn stalk, guitar and chicken.
The new signs have an illustration of a train over the words “Welcome to Marshville North Carolina.” The train is a nod to Marshville’s long history as a railroad town sitting along a main CSX line.
“It’s nice, it’s dignified and it gets the job done,” Shubert said. “There was no disrespect to Randy Travis. It looks more like your traditional welcome sign.”
The new aluminum signs, which cost a combined $988, also should be more durable than the plastic ones, which went up in 2008, Shubert said.
Earlier town signs also included Travis’ name for many years, although Marshville officials were unsure when his name first appeared on them.
Travis has won seven Grammy Awards, has had 18 No. 1 singles and even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He released a new album in August called “Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am,” with songs including “Nearly Lose Your Mind” and “Are The Good Times Really Over?”
Last summer, the singer underwent brain surgery after heart failure and a stroke. He is still working to fully regain his power of speech, his fiancee, Mary Davis, told Country Weekly magazine.
Though a spokeswoman, Davis declined to comment on the signs.
The changes drew mixed reaction around Marshville. Janice Stitt said she went to high school with Travis and wished that the town had kept his name on the signs. “This is where he is from, and we should be proud of him,” she said. “He put Marshville on the map.”
Others were more ambivalent.
Eating breakfast at a local diner, Jeff Horne said he wondered about the sign change, but it didn’t bother him that Travis’ name was no longer on it. A couple of seats over, Town Councilman Jim Rowell said the old signs were falling apart and he had heard no complaints about the new ones.
Across the street, sitting in a barber’s chair, Jerry Anderson said he did not think people would mind the changes. “I don’t think there will be any riots in the street.”