The History of Greenmont Mural celebrates all that and more.
A bold new mural is going up in Greenmont. It’ll be fun to look at, and we’ll all learn—or remember—a few things when we see it.
It’s called the History of Greenmont Mural, and it was instigated by Adelheid Schaupp, a history scholar turned renovationist and landlord. Schaupp wanted to add some life to a big blank wall in the neighborhood and invited artist Jessie Haring to design a mural combining elements of Greenmont’s long and interesting history—like Bailey’s Grocery.
“That was where Madeleine Marie’s is now, and it’s always been a corner store. Before that it was Raese’s Grocery,” says Schaupp, who grew up nearby in South Park. “Bailey’s closed within the last 20 to 30 years—when I was a child, we used to go there—and a lot of people remember it.” Crestholm Pharmacy is in the mural, too. “That was where Quantum Bean is now. You could go in there and get your prescriptions and a Coke and a Hershey Bar.”
Greenmont was Morgantown’s first neighborhood, Schaupp says. “It was established in the early 1900s, and it was a working class neighborhood.” The streetcar that took workers to the factories in Sabraton turned around in Greenmont—at the Arch Street “island,” three blocks of grassy median. “You had your construction laborers, tin mill workers, glass factory workers, anyone in the construction trades was here, and they built Morgantown.”
Figures in the mural represent that early history. Italian immigrants, who made up a good part of the neighborhood, show up through the Italian flag, wine grapes, the game of bocce, and folk art. Italian immigrant Thoney Pietro’s Pietro Stone Works is represented—many of the early stone and brick walls and streets still standing across town today were built by Pietro and his crew, and many of them lived in Greenmont.
The mural hits home for a lot of residents. A gofundme set up on September 29 to raise $3,000 for materials reached its target in the first 24 hours, Schaupp says, a surprising show of support. “We weren’t sure how it would do, because so many people are trying to do murals right now,” she says. “But I felt like this one had special meaning. Greenmont has never put the money together for a welcome sign—we’re still a working class community over here. But I thought this could be a combined sort of history and ‘Welcome to Greenmont’ sign.” Current residents donated as well as quite a few past residents and some businesses.
The oldest Greenmont site of all, Kern’s Fort, doesn’t appear in the design—yet. “People asked about it,” Schaupp says. “We haven’t figured out how to get it in there, but we will.”
Haring intended to paint during the comfortable fall weather of October, but she tested positive for COVID and was down for two weeks. Watch for the mural to go up across Green Street from Gene’s, near Wilson Avenue, as weather permits. And for more history and appreciation for Greenmont, visit Schaupp’s website.