Joseph Smith Birthplace Sign Installed on I-89

Contributed By By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor

  • 18 December 2013

Joseph Smith's birthplace in Sharon, Vermont.

Article Highlights

  • After a restrictive law was passed in 2001, many thought interstate signage for the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial an impossible feat.
  • After much work and research, Judy Shefchik, a facilities management missionary, received the needed consensus and approval.
  • The sign was installed just in time to welcome visitors to the Christmas lights display at the memorial.


A new sign has been installed on Vermont Interstate 89 just before Exit 3—directing motorists to Joseph Smith’s birthplace and warning of a low underpass.

This new sign is a direct result of the efforts of Sister Judy Shefchik, a facilities management missionary at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial. Sister Shefchik talked to many people as she researched the laws and requirements for signage on and around the nearby interstate highway.

As a result, new plaques were installed at the nearby rest area plazas, and “official business directional signs” locations were clarified on VT 14.

However, getting a large sign installed on the interstate highway was a task many said was not possible. In the past, the Church paid for a freeway sign, directing visitors to the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial. However, the sign was removed in 2001 after a change in legislative rules concerning signs on the interstate in Vermont.

The new legislation enacted very restrictive provisions. Only two supplemental guide signs are permitted at each exit. Currently, there are two entities listed at Exit 2, the desired exit for the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial, since it is the exit for Sharon, Vt. Thus, Exit 2 is “full.”

However, Sister Shefchik realized that there were no supplemental guide signs at Exit 3. Getting approval for the new sign involved creating a draft of the sign acceptable to the Agency of Transportation, reaching a consensus among regional partners and other interested parties, and getting the approval of the Transportation Information Council. This final approval was received in June 2013.

Five months later, after several communications with traffic safety investigators and installers, the sign was installed, just in time to welcome visitors to the display of Christmas lights at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial.