Karyl Shields, North White Junior/Senior High School art teacher (left) and student Pablo Ramirez display murals that are now in downtown Monon. Courtesy photo
Karyl Shields, North White Junior/Senior High School art teacher (left) and student Pablo Ramirez display murals that are now in downtown Monon. Courtesy photo
MONON — Students in Karyl Shields’ art class at North White Jr./Sr. High School have contributed to telling the story of Monon’s rich railroad history through a couple of new murals now on display in the downtown area.

The mural project, sponsored by the All Aboard Monon Main Street Association, shows an 1800s-era steam engine and a 1960s-era passenger train.

“Since we had two twin panels to work with, the students thought they should complement each (other) in addition to expressing the heritage of Monon through time,” Shields said. “The idea was to cover the span of the Monon passenger line which ran from Chicago to Lake Erie.”

The murals are currently on display in the upper windows of the corner main street building (Market and 4th streets) directly above a mural featuring the American flag, Indiana state flag and seal, White County seal and Monon emblem designed, created and painted by lifelong Monon resident Pat Newbold. That work was completed in October 2020.

Shields said the mural on the left shows an 1800s steam engine that was a common sight in the area, while the mural on the right shows the last passenger train that stopped operations in the 1960s. The train tracks shown in the right panel are no longer in existence, she said, but were located near the present-day depot.

“The (panel) on the left was painted in sepia tones to capture its antiquity and the one on right (was painted) in color to show more current times,” Shields said. “My high school painting students worked on both paintings since September.”

North White students Pablo Ramirez, Dakota Vorce, Braylyn Roberts and Iris Soraya designed the murals.

Shields said she was approached by Julie Gutwein, a member of All Aboard Monon, to contribute to the project.
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