Pontotoc gets grant to restore historic wall painting that residents see as local landmark

PONTOTOC, Miss. (WCBI) – The Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce has received a grant of over $3K that will go towards restoring the mural the community considers a local landmark.

“It’s always been here and it’s been a symbol of Pontotoc for people through the years,” says long-time Pontotoc resident Toby Winston.

The brick building at the corner of South Main and West Washington Streets in downtown Pontotoc has been home to several businesses.

“It had been a grocery store, then it was an office at one point in time,” Winston says. “Then it was a grocery store again.”

Currently, it is a hair salon. But it’s the advertisements painted on the side of the wall that has made it a local landmark to the community.

“It serves as a backdrop for our locals and visitors to historic downtown Pontotoc to come and take photos there,” says Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce Director Beth Luther Waldo. “When people dress up to go to prom they come there, we have wedding party people that come there.”

Residents say the history of the painted advertisements on the wall goes back at least 100 years and they consider it a symbol of the industry that helped build the small town.

“It represents to the people the fact that Pontotoc has been a (place of) full-going, commercial business and has had commercial businesses for almost 200 years,” Winston says.

But over the years, the paintings became chipped and faded. So Waldo applied for the roughly $3,250 grant in 2021.

“Every bit will go towards the project,” she says. “We’ll be getting scaffolding, we’ll be getting our supplies, we have artists who are working on the design.”

Waldo says the new mural will be a mix between the old advertisements and tributes to Pontotoc’s Native American history.

“We’ll be implementing some cattails in there, we’ll have some Bodock trees in there to connect us back to our Native American heritage,” she says.

The grant covers half the expenses for the project but Waldo says several people have already come forward to donate.

“We decided to put a touch of our local history in this piece of history,” she says.

Waldo says their goal is to have the wall ready for their Bodock Festival in September.

Those interested in donating to the project can send them to 109 North Main Street, Pontotoc, MS, 38863.

Categories: Featured, Local News