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Walldogs Mural Tour

The Walldogs are a group of talented sign and mural artists from all over the world. The Walldog movement began in 1993 when dozens of artists gathered in Allerton, Iowa to paint several large historic wall advertisements. Today, the Walldogs travel to towns across the country to promote tourism.

The tradition of painting wall advertisements is continued today by this modern “pack” of artists as they paint in the design styles of the past. From the colors they use to the art styles they practice, these artists capture the history and culture of every town they visit.

In June of 2015, the Walldogs gathered in Delavan, Wisconsin and transformed the town with beautiful murals. We would like to extend a special thank you to our Delavan Walldog project coordinators Brad and Kit Bandow of Brushfire Signs and the Walldogs for their impeccable work and for taking the time to enhance the beauty and bringing to life the history of Delavan.

To find out more about the murals, go to youtu.be/FIP5od0BZG4 or find us on facebook.

Click here to view printable map

1 Founders & Temperance Beginnings
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Founders & Temperance Beginnings

Location: 52 E. Walworth Ave.

Project Leaders: Bob Sauls & Douglas Hancock - Florida

Sponsor: Delavan - Delavan Lake Area Chamber of Commerce

History: In 1836, brothers Henry and Col. Samuel Phoenix came to the Wisconsin Territory from New York to find a location to establish a Temperance Colony.

2 Elmer Gauger, Old Barn Studio
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Elmer Gauger, Old Barn Studio

Location: 130 E. Walworth Ave.

Project Leaders: Kit & Brad Bandow - Wisconsin

Sponsor: City of Delavan Lodging

History: Elmer Gauger was the owner of the Old Barn Studio in Delavan. A talented artist, he was known for his commercial artwork and more locally for designing iconic business signs.

3 Tribute To The Military
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Tribute To The Military

Location: 111 S. 2nd St.

Project Leaders: David & Susie Butler - Indiana and Dennis & Pat Raap - Michigan

Sponsor: American Legion Post 95 & Delavan-Darien Rotary

History: Delavan has always been a proud supporter of our military, and never fails to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. Delavan is home to American Legion Post #95 and VFW Post #10173.

4 Birthplace Of The P.T. Barnum Circus
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Birthplace Of The P.T. Barnum Circus

Location: 302 E. Walworth Ave.

Project Leaders: Bill Diaz and Eric Elmgren - Illinois

Sponsor: Craig & Jamie Hubertz

History: The P.T. Barnum Circus was conceived and organized in Delavan by William C. Coup and Dan Costello. Using various titles for several years, it eventually became known as “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

5 Wisconsin School For The Deaf
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Wisconsin School For The Deaf

Location: 416 E. Walworth Ave.

Project Leaders: Nancy Bennett - Iowa and Jay Allen - Illinois

Sponsor: Wisconsin School for the Deaf Foundation & Delavan-Darien Rotary

History: The Wisconsin School for the Deaf’s beginnings start in 1852 with Ebenezer Chesebro coming to Delavan with his family which included his daughter Adiana who was deaf, and her teacher. Other local deaf children joined the classes prompting local businessmen to petition the government for a state school.

6 Frank Lloyd Wright & E. Townsend Mix
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Frank Lloyd Wright & E. Townsend Mix

Location: 405 E. Walworth Ave.

Project Leaders: Gary Anderson and Chris Shuster - Indiana

Sponsor: Delavan Downtown Business Association

History: Frank Lloyd Wright and E. Townsend Mix designed several residences and businesses in Delavan and around Delavan Lake. The businesses designed by Mix are long gone, but the Mix designed home of A.H. Allyn still remains. The Yacht Club that Wright designed was razed in the early 1900s. Five Wright designed homes still exist around Delavan Lake.

7 Circus Stamp / Gordon Yadon
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Circus Stamp / Gordon Yadon

Location: 335 E. Walworth Ave.

Project Leaders: Mike Harper - Illinois and Bernie Poff - Wisconsin

Sponsor: Delavan Lions

History: In 1966 the Postmaster General announced that the American Circus Stamp would be released from the Delavan, WI Post Office. This honor occurred because then postmaster, Gordon Yadon applied for it. Somers, NY, who did not complete an application by the deadline, took great offense, and challenged Delavan’s circus legacy. Because of their own deep circus history, Somers was allowed to unveil the stamp.

8 Van Velzer Cigar Company
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Van Velzer Cigar Company

Location: McDowell St. & 3rd St. Parking Lot

Project Leaders: Carole Bersin - Minnesota and Alicia Rheal - Wisconsin

Sponsor: Sullivan Legacy, LLC

History: The Van Velzer Cigar Company was established in 1877 by brothers Washington and Ferdinand Van Velzer and was in business for almost 70 years. During its peak period, they produced over a million hand made cigars annually. One of their logos was “A cigar, a smile, make life worth while”.

9 Red Devils; Semi Pro Football Team
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Red Devils; Semi Pro Football Team

Location: Behind 313 E. Walworth Ave.

Project Leaders: John Byrd and Chris Lovelady - Georgia

Sponsor: Remember When Antiques & Collectibles

History: Delavan was home to semi-pro football team the Red Devils over three eras; 1919-1931, 1947-1956 and 1967-1982. They accumulated a total of 249 wins, 132 losses and 20 ties during their entire history. In the early years they played at Springs Park, and later at Veterans Field.

10 Early Industry
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Early Industry

Location: 114 N. 3rd St.

Project Leaders: Manfred Didier and Marcus Goebels - Germany

Sponsor: Micro Precision, Inc

History: Three of Delavan’s first industries were the Windmill & Pump Factory started in 1861 by Trumball Thomas; Bradley Knitting Company was born in 1904 from the failed Globe Knitting Company, and STA-RITE, founded in 1934 by William C. Heath, then President of the A.O. Smith Corporation.

11 Early Industry 2
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Early Industry 2

Location: 114 N. 3rd St.

Project Leaders: Kit & Brad Bandow – Wisconsin

Sponsor: Community Mural

History: Urbandale Dairy, was founded in 1921 by Robert Alder. Industry changes pushed the partnership with Dean Foods in 1942. Barker Lumber-Started by DT Barker in 1871 in Elkhorn and moved to Delavan 10 years later. Barker Lumber was sold in 2015 to Home Lumber of Whitewater. Moser Screw Co.-Started in 1950 by Arnet Moser became Micro-Precision which still operates today.

12 Delavan Art Colony
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Delavan Art Colony

Location: Behind 215 E. Walworth Ave.

Project Leaders: Andy Goretski and Kurt Gaber - Wisconsin

Sponsor: Community Bank CBD

History: Delavan was the birthplace of several talented artists including William Thorne, Adoph Shulz and Frank Dudley. It is believed that it was their association with the Art Institute of Chicago that led them to begin summer sketching classes in Delavan around 1892 taught by John Vanderpoehl. These talent producing classes ended around 1920.

13 FranCisco Vargas
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FranCisco Vargas

Location: Behind 103 N. 2nd St.

Project Leaders: Brenda (Bernardi) Manor

Sponsor: Delavan, WI Community

History: This mural is dedicated to the memory of FranCisco Vargas (1951-2015), an award-winning artist & muralist from Fresno, CA. In 2014 he created the largest painted mural stamp in the United States (CA). Cisco was Co-Project Leader for the Rodriguez Brothers Potato Farm mural for Delavan’s June 2015 Walldog Event. Shortly after painting this mural, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and died September 7, 2015. Delavan was the last community that Cisco painted with the Walldogs. This memorial mural was executed by a host of Cisco’s friends during the Marshall, IL 2016 Walldog Event.

14 Rodriguez Brothers Potato Farm
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Rodriguez Brothers Potato Farm

Location: 137 Park Pl.

Project Leaders: FranCisco Vargas - California and Alicia Jennings - Washington

Sponsor: Lubick Gallery & Gifts, VFW Post #10173 and the Friends and Family of Lauro & Louis Rodriguez

History: Lauro “Slim” & Louis Rodriguez came to Delavan as migrant workers with their family each summer. One of the families they worked for, the Daniels, offered them the opportunity to sharecrop which led to them purchasing the farm in 1953 and growing it to 2000 acres.

15 Eat’n Time
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Eat’n Time

Location: 217 S. 7th St.

Project Leaders: Tom & Kathy Durham - Missouri and Brent Logan - Nevada

Sponsor: Kunes Country Auto Group

History: This iconic local drive-in was opened in 1946 by the Plewe and Benson families on Seventh Street, and gained an excellent reputation for their good food and friendly family service.

16 Muster Tree / Train Depot
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Muster Tree / Train Depot

Location: 223 S. 7th St.

Project Leaders: Ben & Joe Diaz - Illinois

Sponsor: Alder Scherer LLC

History: During the Civil War, Delavan’s volunteers would gather by the sturdy bur oak tree that stood across from the train depot as they were mustered in to head off to camp. This oak tree is over 200 years old.

17 Borg-Gibbs-Bradley WWII Products / War Years
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Borg-Gibbs-Bradley WWII Products / War Years

Location: 811 Ann St.

Project Leaders: Sonny Franks - Georgia, Eric Skinner and Russell Kelley - Canada

Sponsor: Borg Foundation

History: During World War II, the Borg, Gibbs and Bradley Co’s completed over thirty contracts for the U.S. government. Because of the number of government contracts, Delavan was listed as one of the top ten prime targets for enemy sabotage.

18 Community Kids Wall
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Community Kids Wall

Location: 1001 E. Geneva St.

Project Leaders: Rachel Pfarr - Wisconsin

Sponsor: Community Mural

History: This mural was designed by DDHS art teacher Rachel Pfarr and painted by children. It depicts a boy and girl reading about Delavan’s colorful circus history and the images it inspires.

19 Big Band & Ballroom
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Big Band & Ballroom

Location: 2400 E. Geneva St. (Inside)

Project Leaders: Carol Kaufmann - Illinois and Joy Kjer - Nebraska

Sponsor: Lake Lawn Resort

History: Glen Miller, Lawrence Welk and Louis Armstrong are only a few of the big names that were drawn to Delavan when it was a ‘Ballroom Mecca’ in the 1930’s & 40’s. Delavan Lake was the location of some of the best ballrooms in the midwest.

20 Delavan Lake Steam Ships / Resorts
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Delavan Lake Steam Ships / Resorts

Location: 210 - 212 State Rd. 50

Project Leaders: Robert Estes - Kentucky and Alan “Doc” Welty - North Carolina

Sponsor: Reed’s Marine

History: In the late 1800’s, tourism on Delavan Lake was bustling. Excursion steamers moved visitors around the lake passing several of the “modern” resorts and the Delavan Lake Yacht Club which hosted popular regattas.

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