The seven buildings that were destroyed by fire on Sept. 25 are slowly reappearing on Front Street ¬– one stroke of a paint brush at a time.
Asher Robinson, a local artist, is painting a mural of the lost buildings on the side of the new home of Harborwalk Books, one of the businesses destroyed in the blaze.
Michelle Overton, who bought the book store business from Anne Carlson days after the fire, originally wanted to have “Harborwalk Books” painted on the side of the building, which sits at the corner of Front and Screven streets. That’s just across from the Town Clock.
“We wanted to do something to beautify the place,” Overton said.
Overton said a friend suggested a mural of the lost buildings. Robinson had the same idea.
Robinson began by drawing the buildings on the wall in permanent marker. That took about a week.
For the last two weeks he’s been painting the buildings, using colors as close to the originals as possible.
The next step will be to add the details, such as signs, awnings, and window displays.
Robinson estimates he’s spent about 100 hours working on the mural.
As the mural has taken shape, it’s become a gathering place for people.
“It’s the talk of the city,” Overton said. “[Asher] has become a celebrity overnight.”
Several people have come into the store after seeing the mural to purchase some of Robinson’s artwork.
Overton and her husband reopened Harborwalk about three weeks ago. She said people still come in looking for Carlson and her dog, B.D., which spent its days greeting customers at the old location.
“Annie has been a tremendous help,” Overton said. “I wanted her to know people really appreciate what she’s done.”
Carlson stops by the new location occasionally, but B.D. probably won’t visit since the Overtons are trying to turn their two dogs, Sam and Millie, into shop dogs.