Mural depicts city’s past and present

Posted 11/7/19

By Cindy Gladden Record Staff Writer Motorists passing the city park in Marthasville have slowed down lately since Sarah Mehrhoff began painting a mural on the walls of the new park restrooms. A …

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Mural depicts city’s past and present

Record Staff WriterMotorists passing the city park in Marthasville have slowed down lately since Sarah Mehrhoff began painting a mural on the walls of the new park restrooms. A plain cinder block wall is now a colorful depiction of Marthasville — its past and present.“Every day I go down to look at it,” said West Ward Alderman Pam Jensen. “It makes me happy.”Jensen said the city was lucky to find Mehrhoff, who volunteered her time to paint the mural for the city.“We asked her to focus on the agricultural and natural history of Marthasville,” said Jensen. “It really has everything in it. It’s really beyond everything we imagined.”The project was a vision of the Marthasville Area Chamber of Commerce, with the cooperation of the park board and the city of Marthasville. Paint was provided by the city and Mehrhoff took it from there.A native of the small town of Pleasant Hill, Ill., Mehrhoff finds living in Marthasville to be very similar to her upbringing. She and her husband, Mark, have made Marthasville their home for the past 12 years. Their three children have all attended Marthasville Elementary School.“I get homesick for where I grew up when I think about Marthasville,” she said. “This is a good place to raise my kids. There are a lot of good people here.”Mehrhoff said an art teacher took her under her wing during her high school years. Later, when she studied to become a physical therapist during college, she always tried to take at least one art class per semester to “keep some fun in her studies.”Her day job as a physical therapist includes working with students, ages three to 21, in local schools. She helps meet their educational needs by treating their physical barriers.The mural at the park is not the only project she has taken on in the past few years. She has painted a mural for the St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in New Haven, the St. Clair Coop gym and hallway, the Charrette Baptist Church nursery and several bedrooms of her students.Often seen around Marthasville is the trailer of a local blacksmith Mehrhoff has painted to resemble a log cabin.Mehrhoff loves to run the Katy Trail and has used her time exercising to plan out the Marthasville mural.“When I run on the trail, I picture it,” she said. “It mattered to me how it was viewed as I worked on it as I ran. The depot is in the center. It is both past and present and it tied the trail and tracks together.”A lot of people have stopped to chat with Mehrhoff while she worked on the mural, giving her their own insights about their quaint little hometown. Mehrhoff has allowed many local children to add a few blossoms to the peach trees or fill in a section of the cornstalks.Mehrhoff has included a lot of details on the mural. Amidst the rolling green hills are orchards, cattle, crops, the elementary school and local churches.The right side of the mural depicts Marthasville’s history where you find Daniel Boone sitting on a boulder about the size of his current memorial boulder. The La Charrette cabin and the railroad are depicted as well.One tribute Mehrhoff could not resist is what she calls the “where’s Wanda” figure. Known for her daily walks of 20 miles or more, “Wanda” is shown on the Katy Trail, pounding out the miles. Bicyclists inhabit the Katy line on the left side of the mural. Mehrhoff has also included the MFA silo that was recently torn down.Jensen said Mehrhoff’s commitment to the project was amazing.“She was well organized and inspired to find everything that needed to be included,” said Jensen. “It’s so beautiful.”Mehrhoff said she has really enjoyed talking with the community as they watch her paint. She has learned a great deal about the town’s history and realizes the value of living in Marthasville.“We’ve got a good future here,” she said.

A mural commissioned by the city of Marthasville was completed recently by local artist, Sarah Merhoff. The mural captures Marthasville's past and present.