Images of real people enliven refurbished mural at Fairhaven Village Green

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 17, 2013 

Most longtime Fairhaven folks know Gordon Tweit, the gentlemanly former owner of Fairhaven Pharmacy who is a font of historical knowledge and artifacts about Bellingham.

Now everyone can see Tweit whenever they want.

He's one of several real people - most of them living - that Bellingham artist Lanny Little added to the Fairhaven Village Green mural when he refurbished the outdoor painting this summer and fall.

Tweit was flattered to be in the mural, but a bit chagrined that he's the largest person portrayed.

"You have feelings both ways," he said.

Little originally painted the mural in 2000 to surround the blank white wall where outdoor movies are shown in the heart of Fairhaven. The mural featured a street scene with the majestic Fairhaven Hotel before it was gutted by fire in 1953, and portrayed several people in faux windows.

When the mural recently showed signs of fading, supporters raised money to touch up the mural and apply a clear protective coating.

Two vertical slices of the mural frame the movie screen. To the right is the larger image showing the street intersection by the Fairhaven Hotel.

Here's a guide to who's in the mural.

- Upper windows, left of the screen: From left to right: Olivia, Little's dog; Jett Little, a grandson of his; Sophie, Little's dog (deceased); and Little's grandchildren Linden McGreevy and Jared McGreevy.

- Bottom window, left of screen: Kara McFadden, Olivia Knapp and Yan In, student interns who helped paint the mural.

- Upper windows, right of screen: Mattie, a pug; and Robin Crookall, another intern painter. Mattie is owned by Taimi Dunn Gorman, former Fairhaven restaurant owner, and was for many years the prognosticating pug for the annual Northwest Rain Festival in Fairahven.

- Lower window, right of screen: Emily Eklund, intern painter; and Elliott Heaton, whose grandmother won a raffle for the right to be in the mural.

- In the main part of the mural, titled "11th & Harris, Circa 1927," some figures are not based on real people. Those figures are the streetcar conductor and passengers, the man in a white coat outside the barber shop, and a couple in the lower right corner.

Tweit stands in the lower left foreground.

Behind Tweit, wearing a violet dress, is Penny Tillson, who published the Fairhaven Gazette quarterly magazine from the early 1980s to the mid-'90s.

"It's wonderful to be recognized," she said. "It's a really unique tribute."

To Tillson's right stands Bellingham writer and historian Brian Griffin, holding a ukulele because he plays and makes the instrument. Griffin, who spearheaded the campaign to build Fairhaven Village Green in 2003, said he liked the idea of adding real people to the mural.

"Despite my being on there, I think it's a big improvement," he said.

To Griffin's right stands Galen Biery, the much-honored Bellingham historian, photographer and photo collector who died in 1994. Next to Biery is E. Rosamonde Ellis Van Miert, the author of several local history books, including "The Fairhaven Hotel Journal 1889-1956."

Above Tweit, in a window above the confectionary store, stands Sue Scott, another raffle prize winner.

The building behind Scott has figures in two second-floor windows. To the left is Dirty Dan Harris, who platted Fairhaven in 1883 and whose sculpture adorns the village green. To the right is Anna Williams, Bellingham businesswoman, community leader and Fairhaven restaurant owner.

Sitting in the Model T in the intersection are Ken Imus, prominent Fairhaven developer, behind the wheel; and his wife, Barbara. To the right of the vehicle, crossing the street, are Chuck and Dee Robinson, co-owners of Village Books. Appropriately, they are carrying books.

Behind them, standing by the Busy Corner store, is Tony Campbell, founder of his namesake coffee business that now occupies that location. He's holding a cup, presumably of coffee.

On the right side of the intersection, aboard a 1927 Triumph motorcycle, sits Bellingham watercolor artist Ron Pattern. In the lower right corner, a black cat pays homage to the feral cats that once prowled Fairhaven.

Last, but certainly not least, in the lower level of the mural at the far right, Little painted himself signing his name to his creation.

MORE INFORMATION

To learn more about Lanny Little and his works, go to lannylittle.com.

WATCH VIDEO: 'VILLAGE GREEN REFURB'

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Reach Dean Kahn at 360-715-2291 or dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com.

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