We’ve Painted The Town Red (& Blue, Orange, Yellow, etc.)

As the weather gets warmer, it’s a great time to enjoy the history and artistry of Sanford by experiencing the Mural Art Trail. Under the enthusiastic leadership of Liz Whitmore, the City of Sanford’s Appearance Commission has commissioned the creation of several historical murals in downtown Sanford and Jonesboro. The trail is a self-guided walking tour covering 1.33 miles and the footprint is where all but one of the first 8 murals are on display. The exception is our first image of the Jonesboro Cornet Band, which is situated in the Jonesboro section of town and seen here in its final stages of completion by mural artist Scott Nurkin.

The mural at the corner of Wall Street and Horner Boulevard pays tribute to two giants of the Sanford African-American community, educator W.B. Wicker and builder/entrepreneur Link Boykin. Here we see Mayor Chet Mann providing a tour to Municipal Equation Podcaster Ben Brown. (Hear the Sanford Mural episode – Episode 21 -Murals Unlock A City of the show here)

“Silent Wings” honors 3 World War II glider pilots who were all Sanford natives, Lee Roy Perry, Frank Blalock, Sr, and Edward “Bucky” Williams.  This artwork pays tribute to their courage and service to country as they faced enemy gunfire on every air mission. It adorns a large brick wall at the corner of Wicker and Steele Streets in the heart of downtown Sanford.

You’ve probably driven past the image of a 1940s baseball pitcher at the intersection of Wicker Street and Horner Boulevard. This mural remembers the Sanford Spinners, the hometown Tobacco State League representatives who won league championships in 1946, 1947 and 1948. Here’s a picture of Howard Auman, who is represented in the mural. He won 22 games for the team in 1946.

For the final stop on our informal tour, here’s a visit to a wall along North Steele Street, and the mural of Herb Thomas and his Fabulous Hudson Hornet.  A racing hall of famer, and one of the sport’s most popular and influential drivers in its formative years, Herb was the NASCAR Champion in 1951 and 1953.

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.