As you know, we LOVE to brag on Downtown Mooresville and all the awesome things happening! This edition includes some cool history and exciting news about an award for our Town!
Wall-to-wall excitement can certainly be found in many ways in Downtown, and the murals that decorate our historic brick walls are no exception. What many may not know, is the story of how these huge paintings came about.
Mooresville, named after John Franklin Moore, was incorporated in 1873. In 1884 the reconstruction of a railroad corridor helped boost the local economy and firmly established Mooresville as a trade, textile, and manufacturing commercial center.*
The first Coca-Cola mural appeared in Downtown in 1894 as an advertisement not to be missed. The concept of painted wall signs quickly gained popularity, with local businesses and goods featured as huge advertisements on the sides of the brick buildings facing the railroad tracks.
Many murals popped up along Main and Broad Streets over the next few decades, with some being painted over as businesses came and went. Some stayed visible even long after a business was gone, including the painted sign ads for Goodman Drug Store which was founded in 1877 and a fixture in a fixture in Downtown for decades, and Kelly Clothing Company which was founded in 1911 and distributed men’s clothing through 1988*, though most were faded due to time.
In 2019; the Town of Mooresville began researching and exploring the potential restoration for the faded historic wall signs. Tim Brown, Senior Planner with the Town and project manager for the restoration, noted that renovation originally came about due to requests from the Historic Preservation Commission to restore this “unique piece of Mooresville’s railroad-era history”. The Town then partnered with Brushcan Custom Murals of Asheville to preserve six of the signs that had contributed much to the defining historic character of the Downtown district.*
Brushcan Custom Murals spent 155 hours and 17 days restoring and conserving the wall signs. The murals for Seltz Shoes, Coca-Cola, Mills Department Store, Kelly Clothing Company, Goodman Drugs Free Parking, and Goodman Drugs sign and can now be seen, fully restored, along Center Ave. and Broad Street in Downtown Mooresville.
The project, a joint effort between the Town of Mooresville’s Historic Preservation Commission, Beautification Committee, and the Town of Mooresville, was recently recognized with the “Preservation in a Small/Medium Community” Award at the 2020 Charlotte Preservation Awards. Congratulations to all partners and participants for another awesome addition to our historic backdrop; one of the most preserved - and beloved - historic areas in the region!
Downtown Mooresville also houses many creative and distinctive businesses, trendy, delicious food and beverage options plus some awesome entertainment. There are just plenty of wall-to-wall reasons to head to Downtown Mooresville!
*Portions of the historical narrative and images kindly supplied by Tim Brown, Senior Planner, Town of Mooresville.
Downtown Mooresville, Happening Since 1873!
Kim Atkins Executive Director - Mooresville Downtown Commission