By Hannah Cross
Special to The Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Health and wellness is on the mind of many Newkirk supporters, as they seek ways to get out of the house for a walk or jog in the beautiful spring weather. The Newkirk Fitness Pathway, currently a work in progress, has moved a step closer to a reality, as many buildings downtown along the path have seen artful facelifts, offering fitness enthusiasts beautiful sights to look upon as they get out and stretch their legs.
The Path was designed to offer a safe path around the downtown district and Government Square to get out for a stroll, including around Lions Park West.
The Newkirk Pathway runs along the west side of Main Street and some of the building owners graciously agreed to advertise the Newkirk Pathway with some new window murals. Coming up with a few designs and ideas to decorate the windows, getting the materials and gathering a group of volunteers to help with the windows was a fun challenge.
Two different buildings have been completed so far, and the plan is to do one more.
The first building is the Brown building, which is owned by Mario and Shirley Venegas. They are also the owners of Finders Keepers antique store, also located on North Main Street. There were many features of this building that I enjoyed.
According to the book, “Carved in Stone,” by Karen Dye, the Brown building was built in 1899 and has large bay windows on the first floor. It has four large, majestic arched windows on the second floor and is topped with a centered plaque that says, “W.S BROWN.”
A portion of the building was leased by Charles F. Adams in 1901. As a pharmacist, one of his most famous cures was Good Luck Liniment. It has also housed some very well-known antique shops, and will soon house a new antique shop called Carolyn’s Then and Now.
I want to recognize all the people who helped make this window mural possible. Spoke ‘N Things donated one of the bicycles, Finders Keepers and Newkirk Senior Center donated some items, Kim Shanks helped with the painting and Lowe’s Home Improvement gave a discount on paint.
With Memorial Day around the corner, I wanted something that commemorated our veterans and our country. Newkirk is a very patriotic town and I wanted to showcase that patriotism in one of the windows. The other window says “Shop Local.” This is to bring more people into the shops and businesses. It is very important to shop local to keep our community thriving.
The second window mural we did was on the Cline building, 117 N. Main St. Thanks to owners Eliot and Stephanie Tucker, we were able to paint the windows and add a colorful display. In the windows we have two vintage bicycles with flowers and other accessories. We also have a bright turquoise painted bicycle advertising the Newkirk Bikeshare Program.
The Newkirk Bikeshare Program is part of the Newkirk Pathway. Through the program you can go to the Newkirk Public Library and “check out” a bicycle for a certain amount of time. You can ride it along the Newkirk Pathway and the Newkirk Bike Path, which is also part of the Newkirk Pathway.
Learn more about the Newkirk Bikeshare Program at the NPL.
According to “Carved in Stone,” this building was originally constructed as a theater. Black and white mosaic tile covers the entry and brown ceramic tile covers the lower portion of the street level façade. This building has been a barber shop, and saddlery and harness shop. Many may remember this building as a yogurt shop in the 1980s.
Thank you to all the people who helped with the window mural. Newkirk Main Street let us borrow window washing tools, Golden Acres Motel graciously donated sheets for the backdrop, and a number of people donated their old plastic containers for paint. Thanks to Kim Shanks, Torynn Smykil, Shannon Smykil, Emma Smith, Becky Smith and Rosemary Hobbs for helping wash and paint the windows.
One last mural will be installed soon. It will feature an original sculpture by Ethan Rhea, using recycled materials. The artwork is called “Cyclepath,” and uses donated materials from Spoke ‘N Things.