Maybe you’ve stopped to read about Mount Rushmore, the Battle of Gettysburg, or merely the history of a local town hall. You’ll find thousands of insightful historical markers across the country, but you’ve likely never though of where they come from. On a recent trip to Marietta, Ohio, I learned all about the history and process of making these signs at the Sewah Studios company.
Disclosure: Accommodations a The Lafayette and meals were provide by Marietta-Washington County CVB. Opinions, as always , are purely my own.
Since 1927, Sewah has been creating roadside historical markers for several states, National Parks, local municipalities, and organizations. No matter where you travel, you’re sure to run across one. 90 years ago E. M. Hawes recognized that with the rapidly increasing popularity of automobiles and new roads, there would be a desire for travelers to learn about their destinations. The Sewah Studios (Hawes spelled backwards) has been filling that niche ever since.
Everything at Sewah is still done by hand. Roughly 20 employees produce each durable aluminum sign using custom designs specified by the customer. The information on the sign is first hand laid in a unique script, then sent off to the foundry.
The foundry workers create a mold, then pour in molten aluminum to cast the new sign. The metal quickly hardens and the sign is removed from the sand mold. It is then moved to the next workshop for cleaning and finishing the metal work.
Finally, the signs are powder coated and, if needed, hand colored. Once the signs are shipped out, they will last several decades in the outdoors. We saw some old signs in the studio awaiting minor repairs and cleaning after 50+ years on duty in the South. I can’t think of many things that will last so long in a harsh climate.
Visiting a company that is still locally owned and producing signs they same way they have for decades was refreshing. I will definitely have a new appreciation every time I walk past the historical marker in my own little town or on my roadside adventures. For more information on Sewah Studios, visit their website at https://sewahstudios.com/ and enjoy my photo tour video below.
For more Marietta, Ohio information, read my post on local tourism