Mural restoration to begin painting phase

Wade Young

When completed, Montgomery’s new mural will show both sides of historic First Street.

The restoration of Montgomery’s mural will soon come alive with the application of colorful paint.

The 40-foot mural is being redone in a warehouse in Montgomery. Victor Garcia, a retired painter who had lived in Montgomery for 18 years before moving to his home in Belle Plaine, knows the mural’s scene very well. He painted the original 25 years ago. However, weather took its toll on the masterpiece and its boards were taken down last fall.

Thanks to the generous offer by the warehouse’s owners, Ron and Kathy Kocina, Garcia spent the winter chipping and stripping away at the original paint to get to the boards’ smooth surfaces.

Once the boards were prepped, Garcia went to work drawing the new scene. Using a grease pencil that disappears with the use of paint, historic photographs, art books and the internet, Garcia drew freehand the images to come up with the period look. After three meetings with the Arts and Heritage Center Committee, he completed the drawing a month ago.

“A lot of research went into this. I kept it pretty much the same, but I added to it, like people walking, birds, giving it movement, putting life into it,” said Garcia.

When it’s finished, the mural will still depict a First Street scene of the Kolacky Capital in the 1900s, but this time it will depict BOTH sides of the street, instead of one as before.
The full scene will include Franke’s Bakery on the left, and Westerman Lumber, the Pizzeria 201 building, and the former Edel Realty Buildings on the right.

Garcia added the words “Montgomery” and “Kolacky Capital” above the street scene and also incorporated Czech and Montgomery historical icons and nature elements into the piece. Like “Where’s Waldo”, Garcia’s mural will invite admirers to find things like the Green Giant, the former Redbird mascot and other icons.

“I added little surprises that will hopefully keep people standing and looking at it,” he said.

He also added an American flag, a Czech flag, the log cabin, Kolacky girls holding kolackies, the Steam Engine, the old Fire House, a list of the mural’s sponsors, and identifiers of the Montgomery landmarks of the main scene.

Read more in the print edition.


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