Sanford preserves its history with series of downtown murals

SANFORD, N.C. – In an effort to preserve its history, Sanford is placing murals throughout the downtown area.

Three murals have gone up so far with one more in the works, and eight more planned.

Scott Nurkin, a Chapel Hill-based artist, is responsible for two of the three murals and is working on the fourth.

“It’s important to get every detail correct,” Nurkin. “You also want to honor the people that served… It’s fun for me to sort of go back and do the research and find out a lot about it.”

The murals throughout downtown are all sponsored by the community and were organized by Liz Whitmore, historic preservation planner.

“I don’t think people realize what we have here in Sanford,” Whitmore said. “In the historic district we want to maintain that historical feel, and that teaching that historic murals can give us.”

The paintings are as much about education as they are art and culture, officials say. The latest mural honors three men that piloted combat gliders in World War II.

The engine-less gliders were towed behind planes, then released and guided to the ground by pilots.

“They were also known as flying coffins,” Whitmore said. “They were made out of wood and covered with a material. So they were one time use of a plane.”

The murals serve as a proud reminder of what folks from Sanford have accomplished.

Whitmore said she is “very honored to have this mural depicting the history of some of our great people here in Sanford.”

In October, Sanford will hold a mural dedication celebration for the paintings that are completed.

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