Bucyrus Mural - Bucyrus, OH

Bucyrus is best known as the bratwurst capital of America. But it's also a community bursting with pride. You can see that every day when you walk down the street and view what has become the talk of the town as well as a big tourist draw.

There is more to Bucyrus than the bratwurst festival which will be the third week in August this summer. Bucyrus has always been known as the "Great American Crossroad." Routes 4 and 30 meet at the center of town, taking you to New York, California, Lake Erie and Florida. That is where the idea for a new backdrop for a new park comes from.

The present looks back at the past in Bucyrus. Beneath a fifty foot archway, downtown Bucyrus is seen as it was around 1916. But don't try to walk along the street, you'll literally hit a wall. That is because this is a 34 x 130 foot mural painted on the side of a building called "Great American Crossword."

"Downtowns are loosing their old buildings and that sort of thing to CVS and Rite Aids. Those are good things. But you have to maintain your history somehow. You can't put the buildings back so we decided to paint them back," explains Deb Pinion from the Bucyrus Chamber of Commerce.

Buildings like the Geiger Clothing Store. It's symbol was an elephant reflecting the store's motto. "Buy your clothing here because they'll last forever. They're made like the hide of an elephant."

Then there are the famous who have passed through Bucyrus. During World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower came to town on a train and needed to make an important phone call. "So he had to leave the train and come to use the telephone." Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford converged on Bucyrus one night for a somber trip to Marion. "They enjoyed staying here at the Alberton Hotel when they could get together and of course they all stayed here and rode the train down when President Harding's funeral was held."

Over 130 Bucyrus residents modeled for the Washington State artist Eric Grohe. Eighty can be found on the mural, including Deb Pinion looking out a window. The "Great American Crossroad" has created a greenspace and gathering spot in Bucyrus. Most importantly, it's a reminder for residents of all ages to maintain and celebrate the history of their town.

The mural is part of a $400,000 downtown revitalization project. All of this is funded with private donations, not a penny of taxpayer money is involved. Another mural is in the works, this one is a tribute to the American veteran.