www.arcolachamber.com/category/arcola-murals

Addresses are listed with information on each mural below.

During June 20-24 in 2012, over 130 artists from across the United States as well as Canada, New Zealand, Scotland and Australia descended upon Arcola leaving behind 15 historic murals. Known as The Walldogs, the loose affiliation of sign painters, graphic artists and other talented individuals reunite annually to entertain and transform the community with their special brand of artistic interpretation, entertainment, and friendship.

A local steering committee referred to as the “Arcola Beautification Committee” had been working with Walldog leader Scott “Cornbread” Lindley since 2010 to coordinate the meet, raise funds to support the project, and develop the themes that made Arcola’s heritage amazing. Cornbread assembled his team of rock star project leaders to design and manage each mural topic. The line-up included Nancy Bennett, the founder and creator of the Walldog Public Art group, veteran painters from Illinois including Michael Clark, as well as Mike Meyer and Dave Correll from Minnesota.

 

The World Famous Arcola Lawn Rangers by Doug Haffner
126 N. Oak Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On the corner of Jefferson Street and Oak Street

1981 was a marquee year for the Arcola Broom Corn Festival. The Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, was the Grand Marshall and a group of 15 inspired Arcola citizens formed the Lawn Rangers. These brave men felt the calling to become a part of the annual Broom Corn parade instead of hecklers. They took an inventory and came to the conclusion that pushing mowers and twirling brooms was probably the best they could do. But they did it with gusto. Soon after, invitations to appear in other festival parades poured in and the Rangers went on tour. The rest is history.

Wearing their trademark Lone Ranger masks and pushing their decorated mowers, more than 1,000 individuals have twirled their brooms and marched with the Lawn Rangers. New Rangers are subject to an intensive training session where they learn the Ranger “routine” consisting of an impressive number of lawn mower maneuvers and broom tosses. Their craft has taken them to numerous parades and events, including the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Indianapolis 500, the Holiday Day Bowl Parade, and Fiesta Bowl Parade. In January 2009, the Rangers answered the call to march in the Presidential Inauguration parade in Washington D.C. for Barack Obama, whom once had his picture taken with the Rangers while holding a green plunger prior to the start of the Chicago St. Patrick’s day Parade when he was a State Senator. Founder Pat Monahan coined the Ranger Motto, “You‘re only young once… But you can always be immature.”

The project was designed by Doug Haffner from Wyoming, Illinois. Doug operates Haffner’s Fantastic Creations, specializing in dimensional signs, murals and themed environments. Doug was a fairly new addition to the Walldog efforts getting his start at the Walldog meet in Danville, Illinois, in 2010.

Arcola Broom Corn Festival by Michael Clark
204 E. Main Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On the Corner of Main Street and Locust Street

Col. John Cofer planted the first field of Broom Corn in Arcola in 1859. By the end of the 19th Century, Arcola found itself at the center of the broom corn industry. Broom corn was the primary crop grown in the area until the mid-1920s. Arcola remained home to some of the largest brokers involved in the broom corn trade, including Thomas Monahan. Titled as the “Broom Corn Capital of the world,” Arcola is still has significant ties to the industry. Thomas Monahan’s sons are still actively involved in the broom and brush industry today and were joined in 1956 by The Libman Company, producers of numerous household products including brooms and mops.

Every fall since 1972, the Broom Corn Festival has been celebrated in downtown Arcola. The Festival was a reincarnation of the former Homecoming Festival that had long been retired. Recognized by the Champaign News-Gazette as Central Illinois’ Best Festival, crowds of 60,000 descend upon Arcola’s Main Street every year for the festival. Attendees enjoy the National Sweeping Contest on Friday, enjoy live entertainment, view over 150 vendors, run in the 5 and 10k races, and enjoy the parade and a variety of other activities throughout the weekend.

Michael Clark was born and raised in Monmouth, Illinois, and now calls Aledo home. He started painting signs in 1983 after his friend asked him to letter a truck. The artistic-minded Clark purchased some brushes, supplies and a book from the Dick Blick art store in Galesburg. Since that time Michael has expanded his artistic sign business and has created a number of pieces of fine art. In 1992 he joined a group called the “Letterheads,” which led to his early participation in Walldog meets. Since that time Michael has been the project leader at numerous meets and was the event coordinator for the Western Illinois Wallbash meet in his hometown of Aledo in 2005.

The Train They Call the City of New Orleans by Rob Estes
105 E. Main Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On the corner of Main Street and Oak Street

Before the automobile was widely available, travelers often relied on passenger rail service to and from Arcola to connect with neighboring communities to visit friends and family, shop, attend concerts, festivals and sporting events. The rail connected Arcola to the world, making the shipment of goods and traveling very convenient. By the mid-1940s steam locomotives and new diesel engines were pulling freight or passenger cars through Arcola on the Illinois Central every hour. The Illinois Central introduced the original City of New Orleans passenger route on April 27, 1947 as a daytime companion to the overnight Panama Limited. The diesel locomotive emblazoned with the traditional Green Diamond logo of the Illinois Central was paired with colorful new Pullman coaches to complete the route from Chicago to New Orleans. One train would leave Chicago and one would leave New Orleans at the same time every morning and would pass each other at midday making stops along the route including little towns like Arcola. The original train could cover the 934-mile route at an average speed of 60 mph in 15 hours and 55 minutes. The onset of the fast diesel trains contributed to the decline of these “flag stops” in a number of small towns, including Arcola with the last City of New Orleans passenger trains making stops in Arcola in 1963. The train stopped to pick up Arcola residents who were headed to New Orleans to attend the wedding of Arcola native Thomas “Tim” Monahan to Joan Rivas. The Arcola travelers filled an entire passenger car, which was dubbed the “Doc Phillips Special” by the townspeople in honor of Arcola’s dentist, Dr. John Phillips, who organized the trip to New Orleans.

Amtrak took over the passenger train service from the Illinois Central in 1971 and returned to an overnight service, restoring the Panama Limited moniker until 1980. In an attempt to capitalize on the song written by Steve Goodman and recorded by Arlo Guthrie in 1972, Amtrak changed the name back to the City of New Orleans four years prior to Willie Nelson’s album by the same name in 1984. Today, the City of New Orleans continues to pass through Arcola equipped with Streamliner II cars. The closest local stops are now located in Mattoon (15 miles south) and Champaign (30 miles north).

Robert Estes owns and operates Brushstroke Signs in Paducah, Kentucky. Rob has been a sign painter since 1985 and attended his first Walldog meet in Belvideere, Illinois, in 1997. Prior to being selected as the project leader for The Train They Call the City of New Orleans, he had served as the project leader for the Electric Railway Company Mural in Pontiac, Illinois, in 2009.

Amish Heritage by Sonny Franks
118 E. Main Street
Arcola, IL 61910
Near the corner of Main Street and Water Street

In 1865, another group arrived in Douglas County looking for opportunities. Three Amish families moved to rural Arcola along the Kaskaskia River, settling in Douglas County for the rich farmland. The three original families had moved from Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and included Moses Yoder, Daniel P. Miller, and Daniel Otto.

Ministerial leadership for the first church district in Illinois was provided by Bishop Jonas Keim who arrived from Goshen, Indiana. Soon after, brothers Moses J. Kauffman and Jonas J. Kauffman were ordained as ministers. In 1888 as more and more families settled into Douglas County the church divided into districts, each consisting of one bishop, two ministers, and one deacon; each selected by lot. This was the first of several divisions over the years. Today the Douglas County settlement in rural Arcola and Arthur now consists of nearly 4,500 Amish people organized into 27 church districts.

A sign artist from Atlanta, Georgia, Sonny Franks got his start in sign painting while working summer jobs during his college days at Clemson University in Columbia, South Carolina, while studying Political Science. His early ventures included starting a screen printing business in 1971 while still in college. Sonny’s involvement with the Walldog group began through his prior involvement with the Letterhead Group.

From the River to the Rails by Dave Petri
117 W. Washington Street
Arcola, IL 61910
Near the corner of Washington Street and Chestnut Street

In the mid-1800s railroads were soon to replace river travel that until that time, had been the best mode of travel. In 1850 it was announced that Senator Stephen Douglas had persuaded Congress to grant 4,000 square miles of land in Illinois for a railroad that would be built connecting Chicago with Centralia. Shortly thereafter, construction had started in earnest on the Illinois Central line. The first building constructed in Okaw was the Illinois Central Depot on the west side of the tracks in 1853-54. Later, in 1855, the Illinois Central Railroad surveyed and plotted a tract of land along both sides of the newly completed rail line in order to build the town of Okaw. After applying for a post office, railroad officials were surprised to hear that the state of Illinois already had a town named Okaw, so a new name had to be found. After asking for suggestions for the new name of the town, James Kearney, a local citizen, proposed that the new city be called Arcola, and so the railroad town of Okaw became the city today known as Arcola.

A tiny town was located along the banks of the Kaskaskia River (called “Kawkaw” by the Native Americans) 4 miles west of the railroad. Business boomed in Arcola and in 1853-54 a Depot was built on the new line to serve the community. In the winter of 1854-55 the residents of Bagdad loaded the entire town, buildings and all, on wooden sleds and moved the entire settlement, except for a brick factory, from the river to the new railroad. The original depot was later lost in a fire in 1882, but was soon replaced by a new brick Depot on the east side of the tracks where it still stands today and serves as the community’s Tourism Information Center.

A native of Wisconsin, Dave Petri has operated Flying Peach Custom in Green Bay. Dave is a veteran painter with 20 years experience in painting murals and was the event coordinator for the Walldog Wave meet held in Algoma, Wisconsin, in 2007. While his formal education is in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, Dave’s interest is with American History and the preservation of historical information. Dave was a natural pick to serve as the project leader for the River to the Rails mural.

Hispanic Immigration to Arcola by Francisco Vargas
126 N. Oak Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On the corner of Jefferson Street and Oak Street

The initial wave of Hispanic immigration into Arcola is rooted in the opportunities for employment with broom manufacturing. In 1969, seven men were recruited from Cadareyta, Mexico to come Arcola to work in the broom factories. The men shared a simple apartment overlooking Main Street and were joined later by their families in the early 1970s. This lead to a steady migration into the community as others came to Arcola to seek opportunities for their families. While the employers have diversified, many are still employed in an expanded household product industry as manufacturing expanded from simple corn brooms to the manufacturing of mops, brushes and other cleaning items. Many of the original families still have strong ties to the Arcola community, having been a part of the community’s fabric for multiple generations. In the 2010 Census, Hispanics accounted for nearly 40% of Arcola’s population and account for nearly 50% of the student population in the Arcola School District.

The mural was designed by Francisco Vargas and painted by a team of artists under his direction including local Arcola painter, now Walldog, Annette Ferguson. Francisco was a natural selection to develop the mural. The son of migrant workers, the Fresno, California, artist has been a project leader at several Walldog events throughout the Midwest. Drawing inspiration from his California/Latino heritage, Vargas tried to blend vivid colors with classical folk art imagery in his creation honoring the artwork of Jesus Helguera, a legendary Mexican painter.

The Candy Kitchen by Team ANZEC
118 E. Main Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On the corner of Main Street and Water Street

Mike Poulos, a Greek immigrant, opened the Candy Kitchen in 1915. In 1945, “Bennie” Bushu and his wife Laura joined the business and continued when Mike retired in 1951. Charles and Mary Prout later joined Bennie and Laura in operating the Candy Kitchen. Bennie and his staff would produce 50 to 75 pounds of handmade candies each day. During the summer months their efforts focused on caramels, including their popular caramel apples on a stick. They once made and sold 1,500 candy apples for the Villa Grove Pancake Festival and their candy apples were a mainstay at home football games for many years. In addition to candies, the soda fountain featured ice cream and sandwiches. The Candy Kitchen closed after Bennie passed away in 1965. Until he retired, Bennie’s son, Larry, operated the Arcola Pharmacy on Main Street across the street from the former Candy Kitchen. In addition to hosting the famed Coffee Club, Larry’s counter was a place where you could get an old fashioned ice cream sundae and a dime soda.

Team ANZEC, which consisted of 5 New Zealanders and 1 Australian, volunteered to travel to Arcola to paint in honor of their fallen friend and painting mentor, John Jordan. The mural theme and design was developed by Scott “Cornbread” Lindley, the event coordinator for the Arcola Pop the Top Walldog Event. John’s son, Paul Jordan, was a part of the group along with his friends, Dean “Elvis” Johnstone, Anne McDonald, Jeff Harvey, Maurice Ireland, Bruce Greig and Peggy Larson in painting the mural.

The Sweet Shop by Stewart McLaren and Scott “Cornbread” Lindley
102 E. Main Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On the corner of Main Street and Oak Street

The Sweet Shop was a fixture of the Arcola downtown for a number of years in the middle of the 20th century. The shop, located near the corner of Main and Locust Street, displayed a vintage Coke sign hanging on the front to identify the local hangout for the teenagers of the baby boom generation. Teenagers would congregate there to enjoy a Green River from the soda fountain, a hamburger and dance to the tunes from the juke box. The last record played there in the late 1960s, as the location was sold to the Yoder family and became the Dutch Kitchen Restaurant.

Stewart McLaren made the journey to Arcola from Scotland to serve as the project leader for The Sweet Shop. After a stint in the merchant navy, Stewart was working back home in the bar at his family’s hotel when a customer needed to find someone to paint a new sign. Stewart had done a few signs in the merchant navy so he stepped up to paint the sign. Now nearly 30 years later, Stewart is still painting. Stewart came to the Walldogs through the Letterhead group after hosting two events in Scotland for the Letterhead group.

Helping Stewart with the mural design was Scott “Cornbread” Lindley. An avid fan of classic Coca Cola advertising, Cornbread worked with Stewart to produce a mural featuring the vintage Sweet Shop Coke Sign. Incorporated with the Coke sign is a scene reminiscent of a classic Coca Cola print ad from the 1950s.

He’s Not Your Average Joe by Dave Correll
117 E. Main Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On the corner of Main Street and Water Street

In 1941, an early morning bus traveling south on Route 45 arrived in Arcola. The passengers had departed Chicago at a late hour and the passengers were hungry. Because the passengers were black, they had been refused service in place after place on their journey south until they met Joe Ernst, the manager at a small restaurant in Arcola. When they asked if he would serve them, Joe quickly responded “yes” as long as they paid. A passenger introduced herself as Ella Fitzgerald. Though the name meant nothing to Joe at the time, she promised Joe that she would run the register while Joe cooked and would ensure that everyone paid. Joe twice ran out of food and had to make several trips to local stores to feed the hungry crew. True to her word, Ella collected payment from every customer. Out of gratitude to Joe, and much to his embarrassment, Ella announced that she would sing a special song and so she serenaded Joe before the group left the restaurant. Word soon spread through town about what Joe had done. The next day when Joe returned to open the restaurant, the owner had changed the locks and Joe learned that he had been fired because he served a bus of “colored” people.

Joe would later enlist in the U.S. Navy in March of 1942 to serve his country in World War II, just a few short months after War had been declared in December. While in the Navy and long after he had learned who Ella Fitzgerald was, he would often look to see if Ella was performing in the area in which his ship had been ported, always curious to see if she would remember him. In 1944 Joe volunteered for what should have been a suicide mission in which he and 17 other sailors scuttled their ship, the Audacious, off the shores of Omaha Beach at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The Audacious and other ships were deliberately sunk in order to act as breakwater for the Allied troops at the invasion of France. By a miracle, Joe’s ship listed in shallow water allowing him and his 17 shipmates to survive for 4 days, stranded on the deck of their ship while the carnage of war carried on around them. Though suffering tremendous losses, the Allies gained a foothold at Normandy and within 11 months Germany had surrendered and Europe was liberated.

Following the war, Joe returned to Arcola and resumed his quiet civilian life, raising a family. He operated a service garage and automotive dealership on Route 45, and never fully revealed his war experiences. A very humble man, Joe had quietly served the Arcola Community for many years. After encouragement by his long-time friend and physician, Dr. Robert Arrol, Joe finally did share his painful war memories with his family and others. For his heroism on D-Day, Joe was decorated by the Consul General of France on July 21, 2009 in Chicago with the National Order of the Legion of Honor, the highest decoration bestowed by France to a non-citizen.

Dave Correll was charged with the creation of the He’s Not Your Average Joe Mural. Based in Fairibuilt, Minnesota, Dave has operated Brushwork Signs since 1988. Dave has participated with the Walldogs since 2001 and was a project leader in Danville, Illinois, on the Lincoln-Fithian House project. Dave has been commissioned to paint a number of murals across the Midwest including Omaha, Nebraska; Belle Plain, Illinois; Indianola, Illinois and has done work for the University of Illinois Athletic Department.

Historic Route 45 by Chris Lovelady and Aaron Taylor
107 W. Main Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On the corner of Main Street and Chestnut Street

Before the interstate highways were built, the primary route from Chicago to Southern Illinois was U.S. Route 45. On a Friday and Sunday nights traffic was bumper to bumper, making the crossing of Route 45 almost impossible for local residents. Several service stations were located on Route 45, one of which belonged to Pat Murphy. Pat maintained a service station in town, eventually settling into the former carriage shop at the northwest corner of Route 45 and Jefferson Street. Pat had attended the University of Illinois for two years before dropping out due to financial reasons. A true character, Pat was known as mechanical genius; able to repair anything with an engine.

In his younger days Pat was once a ride along mechanic competing in the Indianapolis 500 race. Later, Pat became a local celebrity for the help he gave Charles Lindbergh, the famed American aviator who made the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. Lindbergh was a U.S. Mail pilot prior to this famed flight. During one of his mail flights he incurred engine troubles requiring him to make an emergency landing outside Lovington, Illinois. No mechanics in the immediate Lovington area knew how to work on airplane engines so Pat Murphy, only 20 miles away in Arcola, was called to help. Pat would later recall in stories how he had cut a piece of wire from a farmer’s fence and fashioned it into a working part to fix Lindbergh’s engine. Pat got Lindbergh back on his journey with a warning to be sure to properly repair the engine when he made it to St. Louis. In 1977, Pat was cited as a “town celebrity” by Charles Kuralt, a long-time CBS reporter, when he visited Arcola to do a feature for his On the Road segment featuring Bob Arrol’s Coffee Club. In 1986, the coffee club and Pat were included in Kuralt’s 1986 book titled On the Road with Charles Kuralt.

A pairing from Florida were charged with creating the Historic Route 45 mural. Chris Lovelady hails from Tallahassee, Florida, but runs his sign shop called Vital Signs across the state line in Thomasville, Georgia. Chris has been a sign painter for 20 years after studying the craft at the Rocky Mountain School of Art and Design in Denver, Colorado. Chris became involved with the Walldogs after taking an interest in the Creative Signmakers of America organization.

Co-project leader Aaron Taylor resides with his family in Pensacola, Florida. Aaron got his start in graphic design over 16 years ago, starting as a screen printer in a local t-shirt shop. In 2006, Aaron went off on his own and started A Router Works where, in addition to traditional sign painting, Aaron specializes in producing dimensional signs through traditional carving methods as well as CNC machining.

Raggedy Ann and Andy by David Butler
127 E. Main Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On the corner of Main Street and Locust Street

John Barton Gruelle was born on December 24, 1880 in Arcola. Johnny would go on to become an artist, political cartoonist and illustrator, but his most famous contribution would be a little doll. The story has been told that his daughter Marcella found a faceless ragdoll in the attic at her grandmother’s house, on which Johnny drew a face with the famous Black eyes, red triangle nose and separated mouth. He called the doll “Raggedy Ann” and shared many stories with Marcella. The doll was such a popular toy with Marcella that Gruelle’s Raggedy Doll was patented on September 7, 1915. In the nearly 100 years since, Gruelle’s creation has touched the hearts and minds of millions of children that have played with Raggedy Ann, and later Raggedy Andy, as well as the many other characters Gruelle created. In 2002 Raggedy Ann was elected to the National Toy Hall of Fame and was joined by Raggedy Andy in 2007.

Raggedy Ann has a storied history in Arcola. For 20 years the community hosted the Raggedy Ann Festival drawing Raggedy enthusiasts from across the globe to Arcola. Joni Wannamaker, granddaughter of Johnny Gruelle, created and operated the Raggedy Ann Museum in Arcola for a number of years with her husband, Tom. The Wannamakers were generous enough to donate a volume of historic family archives as well as Raggedy pieces to the Strong Museum of Play after closing the Arcola museum in 2009. An artist in her own right, Joni has illustrated children’s books and was invited by David Butler to participate in the painting of the mural. Tom and Joni both continue to reside in Arcola.

David Butler started to learn the sign painting craft in 1972 from Dutch Webster. A year later, Dutch moved on to other opportunities and helped David get set up with his own business. Since that time David, with the help and support of his wife Susie, have grown their business to incorporate more modern technology and have expanded to include graphic design, custom printed t-shirts and embroidery. David was a participant with the Letterhead group which led him to the first Walldog meet in Allerton, Iowa. Since that time the Butlers have made an annual pilgrimage to participate in at least one meet every year.

Family is important to the Butlers as where you see David, you will find Susie. They have 4 children and 9 grandchildren. While in Arcola, their family expanded to a degree. Tom and Joni Wannamaker formally adopted the Butlers into the Raggedy Anne and Andy Family during a special ceremony the Sunday morning of the Walldog meet.

Ozzie and Harriet by Nancy Bennett
130 N. Locust Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On the corner of Jefferson Street and Locust Street

Arcola was a thriving community in the early 1900s. The downtown featured an opera house completed in 1912 that was home to many live performances from local residents to prominent stars from that period.

One of the biggest draws downtown from 1926 until the onset of World War II was the “Homecoming” festival. The main attractions to the “Homecoming” festival were the performances of nationally known dance orchestras that performed including Coon Sanders, Paul Whiteman, Wayne King, Lawrence Welk, and Tony Martin. In August 1935 the featured entertainment was the Ozzie Nelson Band featuring a 15-piece orchestra and vocals by the lovely Harriet Hillard. The crowds arrived early by train from throughout Central Illinois with registered attendees even arriving from Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Ozzie and Harriet were married later that fall in October 1935 and would later go on to star in the family oriented “Ozzie and Harriet” television show.

Nancy Bennett is the original Walldog, organizing the first meet in 1993 in Allerton, Iowa. Nancy and her husband Dan have been together over 40 years and currently live in Centerville, Iowa, where they operate Dannco, Inc., a graphic design and sporting goods business. Nancy’s artistic talents have led her around the United States to paint murals, signs and even Michael Jackson’s Train at Neverland Ranch in California. Most recently, Nancy has been busy organizing the Walldog Public Art Not-for-Profit in an attempt to create a lasting structure for the Walldog movement which will be celebrating their 20th Anniversary in 2012 in Kewanee, Illinois.

Pfeifer Seed Company by Mark Fair, Anne McDonald and Andy Goretski
111 N. Locust Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On Locust Street between Main Street and Jefferson Street

One of the most prominent leaders of the Arcola business community at the start of the 20th Century was successful entrepreneur, George L. Pfeifer. The Pfeifer Seed Company was opened in 1910. An innovator in the hybrid seed corn industry in the early 20th century, the seed company was one of the largest distributors of seed corn in Central Illinois in addition to being the largest distributor of broom corn seed in the United States.

The Pfeiffer Seed Company was the first customer for the Arcola Phone Company and had the distinction of having the phone no. 1 on the switchboards in the early years of communication. The original seed warehouse, constructed at the turn of the 20th Century on Locust Street is still standing and is currently home to the Yoder’s Homestead Furniture Shop. As a fitting tribute to the contribution of George L. Pfeifer and his company on local agriculture, the mural was placed at the original Pfeifer Seed Company location.

The designers of the project were Mark Fair from Montgomery, Alabama, and Anne McDonald from Christchurch, New Zealand. The pair worked online to collaborate on the mural design. Anne’s background is in graphic design with early work in t-shirt screen printing. Since 2008 she has worked for Clarkson Signs in Christchurch. Mark is a veteran sign painter and member of the Walldogs. He was most recently the project leader for the Hot Rod Lincoln mural in Danville, Illinois, in 2010 and is a past president of the Creative Signmakers of America. When Mark was forced to withdraw from the Arcola meet for shoulder surgery, Andy Goretski from Lincoln County, Wisconsin, stepped in to serve as a co-project leader with Anne creating a slightly different Raggedy Anne and Andy pairing in Arcola.

The Game That Was Never Played by Mike Meyer
351 W. Washington Street
Arcola, IL 61910
Located on the south edge of the Arcola School campus, near the football field

In 1919 professional football was nothing like it is today. Many towns had their own teams made up of local all-stars, as was the case of the Arcola Independents. One team that thoroughly trounced the Independents was the Decatur Staleys, beating Arcola 41 – 0. Not ones to be outdone, a contingent of Arcola businessmen organized a rematch with the Staleys to be played in Arcola on November 30, 1919 at Lyons Field. The businessmen organized additional players by recruiting and paying college football players to supplement the local line up. These recruits included Dutch Sternaman, the star running back for the University of Illinois.

On game day, the Staley team failed to arrive from Decatur. Locals mused that the Staley team got wind of the new Arcola players and backed out of the game. A. E. Staley, though, did make it right, reimbursing the Arcola businessmen for their efforts. Not lost upon A. E. Staley was the idea of recruiting players. In 1920 Dutch Sternaman and George Halas were charged with recruiting and playing for the Decatur Staleys, which were part of the 11 charter members of the American Professional Football Association which grew to become the NFL.

Born and raised on the frozen hockey ponds of Minnestoa, Mike Meyer still calls Mazeppa, Minnesota, home. A sign painter for over 30 years, Mike is one of the original Walldogs, participating in the original meet in Allerton, Iowa, in 1993 and ran the Mazeppa Mustard Walldog meet in his hometown. Mike is an avid Chicago Bears fan and knew within an instant after learning about the story of the Arcola Independents game against the Decatur Staleys in 1919 (forerunner to the Chicago Bears) that he had to paint the mural.

Mike lives and breathes painting and is currently the President of the Creative Signmakers of America. His talents in painting and his ability to teach the craft to others have led him across the United States and around the world to paint signs, murals and even barmaids in New Zealand.

I Spy Children’s Mural by Sarah Stead and Danyielle Proctor
118 E. Main Street
Arcola, IL 61910
On Water Street between Washington Street and Main Street

The Children’s mural was developed with generations of young people in mind. With a classic board game frame and a nod to the classic children’s game of “I Spy,” the mural contains a number of hidden pictures for the young and young at heart to identify. Many Arcola youth were a part of the project, painting the background for the mural alongside project leaders Sarah Steed and Danyielle Proctor.

Danyielle is a local teenager from nearby Danville, Illinois, where she first joined the Walldogs, painting in her hometown in 2010. Since then, she has followed the Walldogs and has been a part of several work crews. Sarah Steed is a mural artist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sarah first became involved with the Walldogs with their meet in Minneapolis focused on painting murals in a 15-block stretch on Nicollet Avenue.

Indiana Rose by Dean “Elvis” Johnstone
118 E. Main Street
Arcola, IL 61910
Near the corner of Main Street and Water Street

This mural is an airbrush portrait painted by Dean Johnstone of Christchurch, New Zealand of his daughter Indiana Rose. Affectionately known as Elvis, Dean is a master airbrush artist.