Murals provide Sumrall history

By BUSTER WOLFE,
Dr. Stephen Beam had been one of the candidates in last year’s mayoral contest for Sumrall’s highest post. Beam has also been president of the Sumrall Development Foundation.
 
“One thing I campaigned on was to make the town look better,” he said. “I thought we could add some murals in town.”
 
The foundation, which is overseen by the Greater Pinebelt Foundation, reached outside the town for help.
 
“Kym Garraway was recently commissioned to paint two murals in downtown Sumrall,” Beam said. “She was so excited. She had driven through town several times and had thought it needed some murals.”
 
The two murals, which are both near City Hall, have two different themes. On one mural, the design resembles different scenes around Sumrall and its history, with a railroad engine, a sawmill, the Longleaf Trace and a portrait of the town’s founder, Daniel Sumrall.
 
The second mural is more of a timeline in the town’s history. With a city street in the background (including the fire department working on a burning building), the posters on the front of the mural begin with the Bowie Lodge, Sumrall’s first building chartered in 1899. In 1921, Sumrall had the first all-female jury. The town was established Oct. 6, 1903. A short leaf pine tree was displayed at the 1904 World’s Fair that was 160 feet tall and 6.8 feet in diameter. The Sumrall High School baseball team is applauded for its state-record winning streak of 67 games, along with five state championships.
 
The two murals were finished in the spring of 2017.
 
“She wanted to finish the murals before it got too hot,” Beam said. “The heat and humidity would affect the paint if it weren’t dry.”
 
Local photographer Bill Meredith has captured the details of the murals. Prints and canvasses are now available for purchase at Longleaf Market in Sumrall.