Berlin Commission Approves Restoration Plans For Advertising Murals

Berlin Commission Approves Restoration Plans For Advertising Murals
One of the historic advertising murals being restored is pictured above. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – Town officials approved plans for the restoration of two historic advertising murals on Pitts Street.

The Berlin Historic District Commission (HDC) last week voted unanimously to approve the restoration of the faded advertising murals on the building at 11 Pitts St. the project will be funded with a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

“I’m excited about it,” said HDC member John Holloway.

It was Holloway who initially suggested the idea of restoring the faded “ghost murals” on Pitts Street. He brought up the idea last year after the seeing a similar mural restored in Snow Hill. There, the ghost mural advertising the G.M. Dryden General Merchandise store was restored on West Green Street.

“It sparked an idea,” said Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director.

She began exploring potential funding for the project and seeking information about the faded advertisements painted on the building at 11 Pitts St. Wells told the HDC last week she was successful in getting funding through the Maryland State Arts Council.

“We’re going to restore them as much as we can to their exact original look,” Wells said.

She has not, however, had much luck located in information about the advertisements, which are too faded to read in places. The advertisements are believed to have been done in the 1920s but wells said she wasn’t able to find any photos of them through social media or at the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum or Worcester County Library.

“We did extensive research trying to find a photo of what those murals looked like…,” she said. “Nobody seems to have any documentation of what that looked like.”

Wells said she was grateful for the assistance of Christopher Utter of Laser Display Company for helping to outline the parts of the murals that are completely gone. She said North Carolina based company Brushcan Murals, the same company that restored the Snow Hill mural, would be coming to Berlin to restore these murals. HDC member Laura Stearns said she was impressed with the job the painter had done in Snow Hill.

Wells agreed.

“We want to keep the authentic look,” she said.

HDC members said they were excited to see the project moving forward.

“I’m just thrilled we’re going to be able to do it,” HDC member Carol Rose said.

Wells said the painter wouldn’t be able to do the project until the spring but that that would be a good time for painting.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.