CHURUBUSCO — A new mural will soon offer a glimpse into Churubusco’s history.
The artist, Churubusco High School graduate Samantha Fulk, 19, recently completed the mural, a replication of a 1938 black and white photograph that depicts a filling station that once stood on the corner of North Main and West Washington streets.
The mural is the third in a series of downtown murals based on historical photographs of Churubusco. The first two – depicting the popcorn stand and railroad – are mounted across from the CITGO gas station.
The downtown mural series started as a way to promote the Churubusco History Center, said local historian (and Samantha Fulk’s grandfather) Chuck Jones. For this mural, he reached out to his granddaughter who is studying art education at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Fulk’s mural will be mounted on the north-facing side of the Churubusco News building, where the filling station once stood. 46 Graphics is creating a plaque that tells the history of the filling station.
In 1938, the DX station was owned by Dale Sprouls. It was later owned by Bob Overholser.
Then, sometime around the mid 1940s, Harry Kugler converted it into a Shell station and continued to operate the station until the late 1960s.
In the early 1970s, Dick and Bob Miracle took over the station and converted it to Conoco. Since then, it has been torn down and used as a parking lot.
Jones was pleased to see how his granddaughter’s artwork came out.
“It’s wonderful. She really did a nice job. We have the original photograph at the History Center, and it looks just like it,” he said.
Fulk said she has always had a passion for drawing and painting. After she graduates, she wants to be a high school art teacher.
She took on the project because she wanted to challenge herself. She had never painted on such a large canvas.
“I wanted to push myself more to see if I could do it and then if I pulled it off, it would look really good in my portfolio,” she said.
Fulk lives in Fort Wayne now, but she drove back to Churubusco nearly every weekend to work on the mural. Between August and December, she spent four or five hours every Sunday working on it at the old fire station.
The “canvas” is actually three plywood panels glued together. She used a projector to project the photograph of the filling station onto the canvas to trace it.
She used black and white Weatherall paint, mixing the colors for the shades of gray. It will also get a clear coat to protect it from the elements.
Fulk said she is really pleased with how the mural turned out.
“I love the detail in the man and the cars,” she said.
The mural looks exactly like the photograph with one little signature detail that’s hidden in plain sight – the license plate says “SAM ’17.”
It’s exciting to know that the public will be able to enjoy the mural for years to come, Fulk said. A mounting and official unveiling is expected in the coming months.