One of the best ways to explore West Jefferson is to take a walking tour of its 15 murals interspersed throughout the downtown area. Designed and painted by local artists, the murals celebrate the region’s colorful mountain history.
The beginning of the downtown mural project can be traced to 1996, when the publishers McFarland and Company, Inc., commissioned local artist Jack Young to paint the mural “History of Ashe Through the Ages.” This past July, local artist Mary Wells began to paint a new colorful flower mural as a replacement, since the building has undergone architectural changes.
Some of the other murals include:
- Robert Johnson’s “Spring Wildflowers on Mt. Jefferson (1998),” a beautiful landscape of spring wildflowers, mountain cliffs and a view of Mt. Jefferson.
- Stephan Shoemaker’s “Cut at Devil Stairs (2001),” which depicts a snowy train scene, a time when the railroad was an important part of Ashe County life.
- “Wings and Things (2004),” a rural farm scene painted by Earle and Raines Thompson with the help of 125 students and community volunteers who painted the mural over a three-day weekend.
For a video tour of the murals, go to:
But the best way to experience the murals is to see them up close and personal. You can download the walking tour map online at: