Historic mural is 'gift to Westville'

Photo ProvidedThis mural brings back memories of Westville's past. It's affixed to the north side of the train depot on State Street.

WESTVILLE — A new mural is sparking memories for long-time residents and others who have ties to the town.

“Public comment has been positive,” village trustee Gary Delhaye said. “It brings back a lot of memories for people who lived in that era.”

Delhaye was referring to a mural mounted on the north side of the Westville Depot and Historical Society at 211 S. State St.

The mural, painted by local artist Mike Harper, depicts four village street scenes from the 1940s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Also featured is the new Westville heritage emblem and the town’s slogan “Melting Pot of Nations,” which is a tribute to immigrants and nationalities that came to work and settle in Westville.

The Historical Society sponsored the mural, which recognizes the businesses that helped shape Westville. The mural represents businesses from each side of the square; a couple still operate today.

The project was led by George Delhaye, chairman of the Westville Depot, and the mural was designed with input from the committee members. The design was then presented to Harper with “Art as a Mission,” who has created many other murals in the area.

The mural was painted onto aluminum, framed and mounted to the building. That way, the original historic building was not affected, Gary Delhaye said.

Harper said this was a challenging mural because of the large amount of detail that went into each business.

“I remember some of these businesses and it brought back memories for me while I was painting it,” he said in a news release. “I always enjoy seeing people smile when memories are recreated from history.”

George Delhaye said in the release, “Westville has always been proud of our heritage with all the nationalities of people who came to this area from all parts of the world to mine the coal, make a living and be free to raise a family, to worship and be a free American.

“Westville is also proud to be known as the home of the first high school football game to be played under the lights.”

Money for the mural came from fundraisers, including sales of the heritage flag, and donations from friends of the depot.

The depot committee would like to see another mural painted in the future, as there are many other businesses that helped build and shape the town.

“We plan to do some landscaping in the north lawn area to honor the coal miners and miners that worked in the area,” George said.

He thanked all who made the mural possible — from workers, committee members and generous donations from friends of the depot.

“It is a gift to Westville. We all need to remember our heritage and what we stand for in this great country of America,” he said.

A dedication for the mural will be set later.

FYI

Learn more at: https://www.villageofwestville.com/index.php/depot and the Westville Depot Facebook page.

Heritage flags are still available for sale at the depot.