New Landis ‘postcard-style’ mural pays homage to past, looks ahead to future
Published 6:31 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2021
By Natalie Anderson
LANDIS — Mayor Meredith Smith says one of her favorite trips as a girl was a visit to Noah’s Dime Store to buy fake nails or a piece of candy near the checkout area.
Growing up in Rowan County, Smith can recall several old businesses, including Noah’s Dime Store, that no longer exist but were once landmarks in the community. After spending months talking with local merchants and former mayors who remember how Landis once looked, Smith wanted to honor the town’s historic past while looking ahead to its future in a way that could brighten the uptown area. She always kept the idea of a mural in the back of her mind.
Last week, that idea came to fruition.
The town’s new mural, painted at the corner of 102 N. Central Ave. near the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office building, was unveiled during the South Rowan Christmas Parade last week. The design is intended to look like a postcard with a retro vibe, said Caswell Turner, the artist hired for the project. Turner is the owner of Cicada Studios, who is based in Mount Pleasant with a location in Concord.
“You can’t just go to Google and learn about all the niche areas of Landis,” Turner said. “There’s some things only locals know and that’s what Mayor Smith was looking to accomplish with the mural.”
Turner said Smith and the town had a strong direction for what they wanted and trusted Turner’s judgement to design that vision. The project took about three months from design to installation of the mural, which uses vinyl strips rather than paint. TPM Inc. placed the vinyl strips onto the building.
The mural measures around 15 feet high and around 35 feet long. It features a train, which Smith said is significant in Landis as the railroad tracks separate the Main Street area of town from downtown. The train also includes No. 146 to honor the town’s American Legion post.
The mural features yellow jackets and honeybees for Landis Elementary and Corriher-Lipe Middle School as well as the name of Billy Ray Barnes, a Landis native and former professional football player and coach.
A tree included in the mural contains a carving of “SR” inside a heart to represent South Rowan. Hummingbirds are featured throughout the mural in honor of D. C. Linn, a longtime Landis resident who donated land for a passive park near the mural. Linn had a special affection for hummingbirds.
Smith said Rowan County commissioners allowed the town to install the mural on the side of the sheriff’s office building. The mural also includes the “Your Rowan” brand, a blog paid for by county funding to promote positive stories.
Other businesses included are Linn Brothers’ “Busy Store,” Landis Roller Mill, Luke’s Corner, Landis Dairy Bar and Miller’s Esso Service.
Turner specializes in murals, illustrations and graphic design. She is the artist behind a mural in Concord that honors The Avett Brothers, an American folk rock band. Turner said creating murals is no easy feat, but it does have an impact on the community.
“It’s really special when you get to work with the town on a mural,” Turner said. “There’s years of thought coming together. It’s a dream realized, really.”
Town Manager Diane Seaford said the project cost around $25,000 and believes it’s located in an area primed for economic development and growth.
“It’s bright. It’s fun,” Smith said. “It just gives life to our town.”
Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.