Historic murals putting Tremonton on the map

Jason Nessen, a Wellsville artist, holds a copy of a post card he is using to pint the mural behind him in Tremonton, UT, Aug 2.

Jason Nessen, a Wellsville artist, is bringing history back to Tremonton by painting murals on the walls of downtown businesses. The Tremonton native moved to Wellsville about three years ago.

Most of Nessens’ murals are painted in sepia tone to match the old photographs he uses as guides. He is currently working on a vibrant colored mural taken from a post card dated in the 1950’s.

In 2003, Tremonton City formed a beatification committee and that’s when I started painting murals,” Nessen said. “I do it part-time; I work on countertops for Valley View Granite for my full-time job.”

Although the project started 15 years ago, the city began pushing it more the last five years.

Jason Nessen sits on the tailgate of his pickup truck he uses to carry his paints.

During the summer, Nessen likes to paint on Saturdays from 6 a.m. until about 10 a.m., before the surfaces get too warm. Some of the paintings can take up to 120 hours to complete.

The murals have been featured in several publications and also helped Tremonton bring home the 2016-17 “Best in State” award for Public Art.

A film crew form KUED came to do a segment on the murals recently. The segment is part of new series that will air in 2019 called This Is Utah.

The Tremonton murals include the historical driving of the Golden Spike, the 1920 Volunteer Fire Department and an old time rodeo with cars parked around the arena, to name a few.

One of the paintings of the Midland Hotel is particularly significant. The hotel was an important part of the city’s history for 81 years. It was destroyed by fire in 1995. Another wall on Main Street features a metal sculpture of a space shuttle, representing the importance of Thiokol to the community.

Tremonton City Manager, Shawn Warnke, said the murals have given Tremonton a lot of publicity, but it’s hard to measure if it is bringing people to the community.

He said, because of the publicity, people are willing to support the program both politically and financially.

Nessen said, “I’ve had people come up to me and thank me for putting Tremonton on the map.”

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