Long-lost mural found during revitalization project in Georgia

A revitalization group doing work on a narrow building in Georgia made a surprising discovery: a mural that could date back as far as the 1930s.

DREAM Streets Sparta, a branch of the Hancock County Historic Preservation commission, revealed in a Facebook post that work was being done recently on a narrow building between the Hattaways and Dickens buildings on Broad Street in Sparta when the mural was found.

Karen West, project manager for DREAM Streets Sparta, said the building was created in 1909 by covering a narrow alleyway. She said the building was a barber shop owned by three generations of the same Black family until it closed in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

“I had to sit down and cry — happy tears! It was so beautiful and so unexpected,” West told WMAZ-TV of the mural’s discovery. “It could’ve been done as early as the 1930s, it could’ve been done as late as the 1970s.”

West said she is not sure if the mural, a folk art rendition of a landscape, is complete, but it covers both walls of the building.

West said DREAM Streets Sparta has identified three possible artists who may have been behind the mural, and two are still alive.