Keep Knoxville Beautiful (KKB) is on a mission to preserve the Knoxville Historic Train Mural, located on South Central Street in the courtyard of the Love Shack Restaurant in the Old City. Commissioned by KKB and created in 2001 by Walt Fieldsa, Eva Allawos, and Randall Starnes, the mural has stood for 15 years and shows significant deterioration. Keep Knoxville Beautiful has a goal of raising $4,500 to fund the restoration by original artist Walt Fieldsa.
The recent and devastating loss of KKB’s Knoxville Music History Mural from the wall of 116 East Jackson in the Old City highlighted the importance of ongoing stewardship for KKB’s second mural.
“The Knoxville Historic Train Mural is our only remaining mural and we are passionate about restoring it as soon as we can,” states Patience Melnik, Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s executive director. “Restoration work of this kind becomes more difficult and costly as the original artwork fades with time.”
Like the Music Mural, the Train Mural is faded and cracked from age and the elements, and the ownership of the building has changed since KKB originally obtained permission to create it. In this case, new owners Laura and Shawn Lyke guarantee the mural’s protection and are very supportive of efforts to revitalize it.
The mural depicts an important era in Knoxville’s historic development. It commemorates the impact that railroads had on the development of our city—both culturally and economically. After the introduction of the railroad around 1850, Knoxville grew from a river town with only 2,000 residents to a major wholesale center for the Southeast. In 1901, Knoxville saw the introduction and establishment of the Southern Railway Company, which built the Southern Terminal on Depot Street, just blocks from the Historic Train Mural.
To donate or for more information on Keep Knoxville Beautiful and the Historic Train Mural Restoration Project please visit www.keepknoxvillebeautiful.org.