Painting the town in Olive Branch

This historical mural in Olive Branch Old Towne, commissioned by the Olive Branch Arts Council, depicts much of Olive Branch's past history. The mural, still incomplete, features Chickasaw warrior Lush-pun-tubby and other figures and icons of the city's history.

There is an old saying about "what if these old walls could talk. What tales would they tell?"

One wall in Olive Branch has a great deal to tell, in relating much of Olive Branch's history for the past 175 years through a town mural being painted by artist Matt Thone.

Olive Branch Arts Council Executive Director Dena Richardson said the mural concept has been floating around for the past several years and came to fruition when Thone was commissioned to paint the mural on the wall of the former W. T. Woods Pharmacy, owned by his grandson Mike Herrington.

For many years, the building was leased by former State Rep. Forrest Hamilton, also a pharmacist.

"There was this nice, big blank wall and I had envisioned a mural there for some time," Richardson said. "The Olive Branch Arts Council has finally

got the show on the road after a couple of years of planning."

Richardson said the wet spring weather delayed the project.

"Because of the heavy rains throughout the spring, he (Thone) kept putting it off. One of our first deadlines was the first and second week of May. But we didn't want to rush him. He paints in the early morning and in the evening. Like any artist, he does a little at a time."

So far, much of Olive Branch's history has taken shape on the wall of the old pharmacy.

Lush-pun-tubby, a Chickasaw warrior wearing his frayed Stetson, with his dark hair in braids, looks out across Old Towne.

"We also have the old pharmacy that had the first soda shop inside it and a horse-and-buggy with a cotton gin sign on the side," Richardson said. "We have the old depot, the city clock that depicts the crossroads of Pigeon Roost and Depot Street and an old automobile," added Richardson.

Richardson said the historical town mural is nothing short of a true work of art.

"I am really impressed with Matt," Richardson said. "He is such a great artist."

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252

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