People did stop and pick up rocks for souvenirs, some of them weighing a hundred pounds. Roos went back more than once to paint up more rocks.
One man who stopped to take a look at the rocks was named Harold E. Malde. He happened to be a geologist. He was so intrigued by the sign and the rocks and the idea of petrified watermelons, that he mentioned it in Geological Survey Professional Paper 596. The paper is about the impact of the Bonneville Flood. In it he said, “In 1955, amused by a whimsical billboard that advertised one patch of boulders as ‘petrified watermelons,’ we applied to them the descriptive geological name Mellon Gravel, which has since become one of the many evocative terms in stratigraphic nomenclature.” (Malde and Poweres, 1962, p. 1216)
Stay tuned. I’ll keep giving you updates and teasers about once a month until book comes out.
Thanks to Ed Harris for the use of the photo his dad Fred took of the watermelon sign many years ago. Fred took 40 pictures of the Stinker signs, most of which will be used in the upcoming book.