Relocation of the Paradise Restaurant Sign, Cooperville

Like many other photographers and travelers on US 301, I’ve shot the iconic Paradise Restaurant sign numerous times over the years. It’s a landmark that most who have ever driven past remember fondly. By researching postcards of the restaurant I’ve discovered that a smaller sign preceded this one and was still in use until at least the early 1960s. I’m not sure when this sign was placed, but my guess would be sometime in the 1960s. A comment from Jerry Levy on a previous post about the sign indicates that the restaurant was open as late as 1982.

I recently got a message from Melissa Birmingham stating that the sign would be removed and relocated to the business that she and her husband Greg operate across the highway, the Cooperville Caboose restaurant. I was sad to hear that it would be removed but less so after talking to Melissa. She invited me to come up and document the removal of the sign.

Dollar General bought the property on the corner that includes the historic sign and their plans were to scrap it.

Melissa and Greg knew that the loss of the sign would be a blow to the community and saving it isn’t a publicity stunt.

It’s where preservation and community involvement come together for good results.  The Sylvania Telephone (newspaper) and Screven County Chamber of Commerce were present to witness the event.

Greg and Melissa Birmingham

It looks like the volunteers enjoyed the day, as did I. Melissa sent me packing with great barbecue and slaw.

14 thoughts on “Relocation of the Paradise Restaurant Sign, Cooperville

  1. csaxt

    Hi. I’ve been interested in the sign for years. I tried to buy it back around 2010. When I heard about the restaurant owners taking it to erect at their restaurant, somehow, I knew it would never happen. Today I decided to go searching for it. After asking everyone in town, who had no idea where it is now, I went driving around trying to find it. We were just about to give up when I saw a tall patch of weeds in a field. I told my daughter that has to be it. Sure enough, it was there, dying a slow, painful, undeserved, rotting death. The top was not with it. I’m not sure where it is. If you can still contact the restaurant owners (I was told they moved to Statesboro, GA.) and ask it’s current ownership situation, and where the top piece might be, I’d love to try to save this thing. I pray the top hasn’t been destroyed, and maybe just maybe we can put it back up one day so it can stand tall again and bring joy to people just as it did you and I for so long.

    1. 301 Traveler

      Thanks for the update Carl!! i check back here now and then to see if there is any new information on the sign. I hate to see it rot away, wish the locals would have the same appreciation for it as we travelers do. Would be happy to help out with any preservation if possible.

    2. Brad

      I was just checking back on any updates to the sign. I am hoping that someone has been able to get it in hopes for a restoration. I went on google maps and zoomed into street view. On hwy 301 looking at the old caboose restaurant you can see the star just beside it on the ground. It also appears the main section of sign is just lying down. I know it has been several years, but if anyone has updates let us know.

      1. 301 Traveler

        Well i’ll be, there it is! (at least in 2016) I’ve looked for it on street view before but never found it. You have a good eye! I am tempted to call that gas station and see if it is still there. 🙂

  2. 301 Traveler

    Hi All, Are there any updates on the status of the preservation of this sign? I get the feeling that it did not get preserved as intended (since I found it on craigslist for sale about a year ago 😦 ) Anyhow, just wondering what became of it. I am really going to miss this iconic landmark on my next trip to Florida.


  3. Jerry Levy

    This is a great scene. In 1976 I was in college in Washington, D.C. and for spring break some friends and I drove to Florida and this segment of US 301 was very interesting to us with all the billboards, restaurants, and motels. Quite an adventure and we spent the night at the Paradise Motel which was a Quality Inn member at the time. Later in 1982 I drove through this area to explore the road again and had breakfast at the Paradise Restaurant. The waitress was very friendly and was also very worried because traffic had fallen off so badly after I-95 was completed in 1978. Looks like the motel and restaurant lost the battle. Anyway, very happy to see the preservation here and look forward to stopping when I come through again.

  4. Pingback: Paradise Restaurant, Cooperville | Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown

  5. Steven Richards

    I was worried when I first saw this post because I thought the sign was going to be removed and gone for good. I pass this location every year on my trip from Charleston to Atlanta. I actually prefer going this route to Atlanta because traveling down 301 is like taking a step back in time. I can’t get enough of driving this part of Georgia/South Carolina. Thanks for the article and information. Now I won’t be confused when I see it on the opposite side of the road.

  6. John Clark

    Thanks for this one. I love all the photos, but particularly enjoyed this one! John Clark (Coffee County ex-pat)


  7. Alan Stewart

    Please take the rest of this derelict restaurant and the motel as well. It is a blight to the entire country. Not to mention that the owners are over $20,000 overdue in property taxes. As an adjacent property owner I for one will be glad to see this go. Thanks for getting the sign gone.

    1. 301 Traveler

      Hi Alan,

      Although you may not see it this way, this sign was always somewhat of an icon to many of us who chose to take the road less traveled. This is the type of thing that brings people like myself off of the interstate and through your dusty town where we will stop and buy fuel, and food, etc. All the years that that blighted area was there you and the community could have done something with it. Painted the sign, cleaned up the area, etc. Instead you have let something interesting and unique to your not so very interesting and unique town disappear.


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