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Midvale Journal

Mural Pays Respect to Midvale History

Aug 26, 2016 01:19PM ● By Chris Larson
Artists, who wished to remain anonymous, completed a new mural in Midvale’s Old Town as a way to pay homage to Midvale’s historic legacy while increasing the visibility of a local business.
Located on the north side of Old Towne Tavern, 7662 Main St., the mural depicts historical scenes from the city’s earlier days including images of miners, beet farmers, a steam locomotive and a scene of Main Street in the 1920’s.
Recent hire, Paris Hawkins, said she is friends with the artists and represented them in an interview with the Midvale City Journal. She also said the idea of doing the mural came from a conversation she had with the general manager some weeks ago.
“We just have all that great real estate to work with,” Hawkins said of the 73-foot wall that faces a parking lot visible to southbound traffic on Main Street (700 East).
The artists didn’t explain to her why they wanted to remain anonymous, Hawkins said, but suggested that they have completed other works in Utah and in other states, such as Washington.
“(They) tried to stay really focused more on the history and less on bar swag because we wanted to do something that celebrated the history of Midvale but also stay true to their artistic side,” Hawkins said.
The artists started the spray paint project on July 21 and ended on July 31. The old red brick was prepped with what Hawkins said was a “buffer” because “the brick absorbs a lot of paint.” The scenes were completed and sprayed with a clear coat 10 days later to complete the project.
For inspiration, the artists visited the Midvale Historical Society and Museum, which is serendipitously located down the street.
Volunteers, who frequently help staff the museum, said young men in their late 20s or early 30s came into the museum asking questions about what Midvale was like in the past and directly sourced many of the scenes, notably the scene of a locomotive, sourced from historical photos found at the museum.
From left to right, the mural features a large steam locomotive, a scene depicted in a historic photo of the Colorado Hotel Saloon, miners eating from pails, a saloon girl, a Vincent Drug storefront, a beet farmer holding a sugar beet, a landscape of one of the smelters and a scene of the night time drive of Main Street.
The artist had several suggestions for what to do with the space but felt it was necessary to do something that captured the historic nature of the town with rumors swirling of a revitalization project for the area.
“There was an elk in place of where the (Colorado Hotel Saloon) is,” Hawkins said. “A lot of the patrons like elk hunting, but what does that tell about Old Town Midvale?”
Before the Old Towne Tavern was established in that building, a bar called Christine’s Lounge held the building for a while, according to the Midvale museum.
An obituary from Oct. 7, 1998 in the Deseret News states that Christine Kelley “for many years owned and operated Christine's Lounge in Midvale.”
Records also show the same address once housed the famed Vincent Drug.Tiles near the front door indicate the building used to be a drug store.
Vincent Drug store was featured in the sports movie, “The Sandlot.” The drug store has since closed, like several shops on Main Street.
Throughout the years, the Midvale area has suffered from the loss of the railroad, mining and smelting industries, a story common across industrial America. Bar regulars and residents said that once these businesses folded, so did much of economic stability.
The Old Town area appears to be in varying states of disrepair, while some buildings appear to be recently improved. This causes severe clashes in appearance between brick facades and actual structural brick.
Old Towne Tavern is actually the combining of two separate addresses. The location that used to share a wall — now removed — used to house Forget Me Not Gift Wrap, Rambling Rose Tavern and Amusement Sales.