Wall Signs Of The Times

Last week’s Throwback Thursday feature focused on the work Liz Whitmore and the City of Sanford’s Appearance Commission have done over the past few years, in their efforts to merge artwork with the history of the community. We featured some works from the innovative downtown mural program, but since space limitations prevented us from sharing all of the artistry with you, we’re back for a second helping. We begin with this meaningful World War II tribute called Off To War. Popular local artist Chris Dalton painted this piece to honor our military men and women. She also sponsored it. Off To War is located at the corner of Carthage and Moore Streets.

A more whimsical art piece is the first 3-D mural in the collection and in the entire state of North Carolina. It honors the long-standing popular Fairview Dairy, which has been a Sanford mainstay for approximately 9 decades. This mural, also a Chris Dalton creation, allows her to utilize painting and sculpture elements to create a work of art where curious cows appear to actually peek out of the picture to stare at a nearby milk carton.

Another popular completion debuted in summer 2018 at the Sanford Rent-All building facing Wicker Street. This piece is yet another Chris Dalton original that recognizes the role that tobacco played in our region for several decades. Like the dairy mural, this work also includes three dimensional elements and features “Old Rip,” patiently working in the tobacco field.

Between 2016 and 2019, Downtown Sanford also experienced a renaissance of advertising “ghost signs.” This is the process of retouching some old wall advertisements to return them to their previous glory. Next time your travels take you through downtown Sanford, be on the lookout for classic advertisements for Dr. Pepper, Sprite, the Sanford Business College, Snowdrift Flour, the legendary Lee Furniture store and Coca-Cola signs like this one. There are 7 ghost signs in all, created by muralist Scott Nurkin.

Editorial content, pictures and research background , compliments of Jimmy Haire and Images of America: Sanford and Lee County, by Jimmy Haire & W.W. Seymour, Jr, available here for purchase. All book proceeds go to Sanford’s Railroad House Historical Association, Inc.