Small Cities in Illinois Known for Their Beautiful Murals
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Illinois is like an open book just waiting to be read. Larger-than-life murals enhance structures and buildings in cities across the state, telling the unique stories of each community’s people and heritage.
“The murals and statuary in towns and cities are an integral part of their history – past and present – and what these places represent,” says Dianna Mueller, a mural artist in Chester. “They demonstrate a town’s pride and ambience and afford so many opportunities for photographs.”
Chester (population 7,800) is among scores of Illinois towns whose history is literally painted all over it. More than a dozen murals liven up the town’s businesses, schools, residences and churches, many incorporating characters from the well-loved comic and cartoon star Popeye the Sailor. Popeye’s creator, Elzie Crisler Segar, was born in Chester in 1894.
Mueller and her husband, Ted, painted or worked on many of Chester’s murals, including ones at Gazebo Park, the Chester Opera House, the Spinach Can Collectibles Museum, Rough House Pizza, Chester City Hall and the Chester Welcome Center.
“City Hall boasts the Popeye characters representing various city employees – Popeye is a fireman, Olive Oyl is a city clerk, Wimpy is the town mayor and Brutus is a policeman,” Mueller says. “Those murals were created on canvas and attached to the walls with wallpaper paste so they can be moved and repositioned when the walls need repainting.”