Photo above by Ryan Cronk / Contributed Photos below
Artist Jennifer Beebe-Hargrove (below) will return later this summer to add the finishing touches to the city’s first historic mural at First and Broadway streets (above). Also below, volunteer artists (from left) Janessa Cisneros, Clarissa Garcia, Hannah Stuercke and Katie Mackin with lead artist Beebe-Hargrove work on the historic mural.
KING CITY — King City is seeing the fruition of its first historic mural, sponsored by King City in Bloom’s Mural Committee along with grant funding from the Monterey County Arts Council.
The mural, located outside on King City Shopette’s east wall facing First Street off Broadway, depicts King City’s historic train depot, circa 1886, and is an almost mirror rendition of the depot’s original location across the street at the Southern Pacific train tracks.
Other historic buildings being showcased in the mural include the Hotel Camino, later known as the El Camino Hotel, which no longer exists, and the Southern Pacific Milling Company warehouse, which is still standing and was later known for years as Meyer’s Tomatoes and is now owned by David Gill.
Lead artist Jennifer Beebe-Hargrove, a former resident and 1999 graduate of King City High School, designed the mural — tentatively named “Historic Kings City Train Depot Mural” — and researched the historic depiction of a bygone era.
“Through much research, (Beebe-Hargrove) has compiled a creative and historic rendering of the origins and evolution of the town Charles King built,” said Laurie Slaten, chairwoman of King City in Bloom. “It was to be known as Kings City, and it began at the Kings Station Train Depot.”
At the base of the mural are footnoted narratives about influential people of that period, including John Ernst Steinbeck Sr., father of famous author John Steinbeck and supervisor of S.P. Milling Company; Charles and Kate King, founder of Kings City and his wife; and Collis Potter Huntington, one of four owners of the Southern Pacific Railroad who extended the rail service to Kings City to help transport Charles King’s hay crop north to lucrative markets to sell.
“King City in Bloom is so appreciative of Beebe-Hargrove’s stellar artwork portfolio for this mural along with the superb volunteer artist crew that contributed their artist skills to create this intricately and beautifully detailed historic mural for King City,” Slaten said.
The installation of this intricate mural took place over the past few months with long hours in the soaring heat and strong winds, but Beebe-Hargrove and a crew of volunteer artists persevered.
The volunteer crew consisted of Beebe-Hargrove’s daughters Scarlett and Amelia Hargrove, her parents Wes and Trena Beebe, Hannah Stuercke, Peggy Hoover, Katie Mackin, Angel Monteagudo, Andrew Hernandez, Allie Cullen, Janesa Cisneros, Clarissa Garcia and Juan Gomez, all of whom lent a creative hand as time permitted for them. King City in Bloom board members also individually assisted in providing lunches each day for the dedicated artists.
“The sense of community support that was noticeable while this mural was developing along were through the community’s compliments, ‘horn honks’ from vehicles passing by, shouts of kudos and ‘thumbs ups,’ which invoked a warm and rewarding benefit for having embarked on this historic mural project,” Slaten said.
Although the mural is not quite finished, it is scheduled to be completed later this summer, when Beebe-Hargrove can return to add the finishing touches, including a border and a varnish coating. A dedication ceremony will be held afterward, most likely in the fall.
“King City in Bloom hopes the community will enjoy this historic mural for years to come and cherish this pictorial of the early years of our pioneer history in the creation of the City of King,” Slaten said.
She added that the organization is grateful to all the artist volunteers, Monterey County Arts Council, King City Shopette owner Jay Kwok for new farmhouse-style mural lamps, Umstead Electric for transitioning of the electrical lighting conduit, John Jernigan for use of the scaffolding, the community and all financial contributors to King City in Bloom for helping to make the mural project a reality.
King City in Bloom is planning for additional mural sites in the future, according to Slaten.
“This historic mural will be the first of several we hope over the next number of years,” she said.
Donations are being accepted to help finance future murals for showcasing King City’s history and can be mailed to King City in Bloom, P.O. Box 1776, King City, CA 93930. Indicate that the funds are for the “King City Historic Mural Project.” Contact Laurie Slaten at 831-385-4205 for more information.