Back in 2001, the Esmond city mural was completed by the Solway family. After battling the elements of North Dakota for 20 years, muralist Tracy Taylor decided to give back to the community where her father grew up.
The original mural had seven elevators that once stood tall in Esmond and outlines of buildings from Main Street. Once she saw the walls conditions, she knew it would be a restoration project — not just a repainting of the mural.
“Pressure washing the wall. I would have to scrap it and prep it because the wall was deteriorating. Back then, they probably pressure washed it but there was no primer behind it so the paint was lifting in many places and it was distorted,” Taylor said.
Bonnie Johnson helped with the original mural 20 years ago and says she jumped at the chance of being able to help restore it back to its beauty.
“I think it’s amazing when people take pride in their community and help restore the feeling of community and closeness that small towns have,” Johnson said.
Along with restoring the original mural, Taylor and the volunteers like Nancy Roble Gardenhire and Joan Glennen added some new features like the state flower and bird.
“I just added my own touches here with the silhouettes of the Model A car, and the umbrella lady and the cowboy leaning up against the wall in the alley,” Roble Gardenhire said.
“It’s the Evergreen City, we need to add an evergreen. So she added this wonderful Evergreen on the corner and I think that’s the highlight of the whole thing for me is the Evergreen,” Glennen said.
Taylor said as a muralist, keeping the history alive in a small town is so important, but also shows how the town has evolved over the years.
“I know keeping the history of the elevators, but this is also a process of it’s grown, it’s now 120 years old this town,” Taylor said. “We added the Evergreen and we tried to make that mural just come back alive with the same buildings intact and then just added a few modern touches to it.”
Taylor said if it wasn’t for the support of the community to help get the supplies and equipment needed it would have never been able to get completed.