The Colorful Murals of Ludington

Anyone can read about the history of a town, but here in Ludington, our history is displayed in a unique and rather large manner. Within the downtown region, ten murals grace the façade of local businesses, and two more murals are found just outside of town.

The Ludington Mural Society has captured the story of Ludington, from its early lumbering industry to notable residents to its beloved carferries. Since 2003, 12 murals have been painted by eight different artists, giving Ludington a very interesting character. The murals are even interactive--there is a hidden object in each one that the artist challenges you to find!

Ludington Mural--downtown Ludington on east side of blue building
Local artists Andy Thomas and Scott Bentz primed the wall and spray painted the outline in July 2014. During the final Friday Night Live, visitors and residents were asked to help paint and complete the mural. It features the word Ludington, lighthouse and waves. The other side of the building features a "Love Ludington" mural, done by Colleen Barber.

Reverend John Christensen--110 W. Ludington Ave.
Artist: David Blodgett & Family, South Bend, IN.
Rev John
Reverend John emigrated to the U.S. from Denmark at age 20, and touched the lives of Mason County residents for 65 years. He served as pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church from 1938-1972, except for two years he spent in Connecticut. After his retirement, he happily continued to minister at weddings, baptisms, and funerals. He also faithfully visited the sick in nursing homes and at the hospital. He was known for the miniature Bibles he would leave with those he tended to.

Freedom Festival--111. W. Ludington Ave.
Artist: Terry Dickinson, Kingsley, MI.
July 4th has been celebrated in Ludington since 1874, and this mural depicts scenes from the Freedom Festival through the years. It is a multi-plane representation of the various celebrations--one panel shows local Vietnam veterans marching in the 1986 parade. The lower portion of the mural is a progression of images--a 1900s parade scene, "Uncle Sam" on stilts, and three members of the Scottville Clown Band: Big George Wilson, Jim Pinkerton and Ray Schulte. The upper portion of the mural are Civil War reenactors of Company D, 1st Michigan Light Artillery marching in the 1986 parade, and finally the fireworks over the North Breakwater Light, which occurs every July 4th.

First Snow-201 S. Rath Ave.
Artist: Terry Smith, Land O' Lakes, FL.
This mural represents the abundant wildlife found in this area of Michigan, and the wish for preserving animals habitat for years to come. This portion of Michigan was home to to Indian tribes who lived in harmony with nature. They believed that you should only take from nature what was needed. After the lumbering era and all the deforestation, timber preserves were set aside and tree planting was made a priority. Hunting and fishing regulations were also put into place, thus preserving the beautiful natural resources of the area.

Ludington's Own--301 S. James St.
Artist: Terry Dickinson, Kingsley, MI.
Ludingtons own
This honors two Ludington residents who have been recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Charles DePuy received his medal for bravery under fire in the famous assault at Petersburg, VA in July 1864. William Charette, a naval medical corpsman, was decorated for aiding his wounded Marine Corp comrades under heavy enemy fire in Korea in 1953. The portrait of Charette on the mural is based upon a photograph taken just moments after he received his medal.

Father Marquette--323 S. James St.
Artist: Roger Cooke, Sandy, OR.
Father Marq
Father Jacques Marquette is a well-known French missionary from the 17th century. In 1673 he accompanied Louis Jolliet on a voyage by canoe to explore the Mississippi River, but on a later trip in 1675, he became ill. They tried to bring him back to the mission at St. Ignace, but he asked to be brought ashore near the present site of Ludington. Here he died and was buried. A shrine in the form of a cross marks that very spot where Father Marquette died. His remains were later moved to St. Ignace in 1677 by the Kiskakton Ottowa Indians. There is some controversy over where Father Marquette actually died. Historians in two other Michigan cities claim that he died in their communities; however, history seems to point to Ludington, MI as his death site.

Hamlin Nostalgia--3611 N. Jebavy Dr.
Artist: David Rozelle, Michigan.
This mural depicts the history of Hamlin Lake, from its lumbering days to the recreational paradise it has now become. It focuses on the logging era from 1856 to 1912, showing horses hauling lumber along the Big Sable River, and also features the building of the 1913 Hamlin Dam. After damming Big Sable Lake, it was renamed Hamlin Lake, after Abraham Lincoln's Vice-President, Hannibal Hamlin. Hamlin Lake covers more than 5,000 acres and is over 12 miles long. It has become a favorite family destination during the summer months.

Ludington's Fountain of Youth and Ossawald Crumb--106 N. Rath Ave.
Artist: Therese Soles, Michigan.
Appropriately placed, this is a painting of William Rath, a former mayor of Ludington and one of its most exemplary residents. He is shown drinking from a "Fountain of Youth," something that was in vogue in the late 1800s. Rath and Judge Charles G. Wing founded and established the Ludington State Bank and later the Fountain Bank in Mason County. He and Antoine E. Cartier (a famous lumberman) acquired Cartier Park near Lincoln Lake, and upon his death, bequeathed $25,000 for the improvement of Cartier Park. He was also instrumental in bringing the Star Watch Case Company to Ludington. A second mural in this location features Ludington's legendary Paul Bunyan, Ossawald Crumb.

Saputo's Italian Market--The Alley Bar & Grill
Artist: Terry Dickinson, Kingsley, MI.
Saputo's Italian Market was located on South James Street and featured fresh local fruits and vegetables; the market was operated by Frank Saputo and his two sisters, Rose and Jennie Saputo. They supplied fruits and vegetables to the carferries. This mural was originally located on the front of Luciano's Ristorante, but has now been moved to the side of The Alley Bar & Grill, on the corner of Filer and S. James Street.

Ludington, A Place for All Seasons--4079 W. US-10.
Artist: Kelly Meredith, WI.
The title says it all, as Ludington is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Fishing, hunting, swimming, skating, snowshoeing - it's available all four seasons for people of all ages. The forests are home to wild turkey and white-tailed deer, and Hamlin Lake hosts populations of bass, pike, walleye, and panfish. Brown trout are abundant in the Pere Marquette River, and Lake Michigan has its fair share of salmon and steelhead. From the vibrant colors of fall to the pristine beauty of winter to the lush greenery of summer--Ludington is like no other community, no matter the season.

Untitled--217 E. Ludington Ave. (inside library)
Artist: Donald C. Weir, Michigan.
This mural is a collage of scenes from the carferry era. At the time this was painted, Ludington had 6 carferries. In one corner of the mural, a young man leaves the farm to work on the car ferry. It also shows workers loading railroad cars onto the S.S. Badger. Another corner shows the young man returning to the farm with his paycheck to buy a new tractor. Upper left corner focuses on wealthy owners boarding the Badger. Now there is only one carferry operating out of Ludington, the S.S. Badger, which crosses Lake Michigan every day during the summer to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.<

Doorway to the Great Lakes--322 W. Ludington Ave.
Artist: Terry Dickinson, Kingsley, MI.
Perhaps the most unique mural, this shows the S.S. Badger carferry sailing by the Ludington North Breakwater Light (IF you look at it from the right!) It has a "louvred" effect, so if you look at it from the left, it looks as if you're peeking through "doors." Nothing says "Ludington" more than its beloved carferries--in their heyday, 14 of these ships sailed in and out of port, including the Pere Marquette fleet and the City of Saginaw, City of Midland, City of Flint, Spartan, and the only one still running--the S.S. Badger.

Beach Scene--316 S. James St.
Artist: Therese Soles, Michigan.
The newest mural is a depiction of an old-fashioned beach scene in Ludington. It shows two women with a parasol walking along the shoreline, while children play in the sand. Besides the carferry, beaches are an integral part of Ludington. You can find numerous, expansive beaches in the area...from Stearns Park out to the Ludington State Park. People enjoy the sugar sand, the clean, fresh water of Lake Michigan, and the many activities that can be enjoyed along the shoreline.

More on the Ludington Art Scene...

For more activities & attractions, check out these additional links for Things to Do in West Michigan:

Ludington Activities & Things to Do -- Play on a beautiful beach, take a tour at Historic White Pine Village, or explore the barn quilt trail, murals or sculptures in the county--Ludington offers many fun things to do for the entire family!
Have Fun in Manistee, Michigan -- Explore Manistee's historic downtown district and riverwalk, hike the Manistee National Forest, canoe on the Manistee River, and more.
Hamlin Lake -- Just 4 miles north of Ludington, Hamlin Lake is a great destination for boating, fishing and climbing dunes! The Hamlin Lake shoreline is also part of the Ludington State Park.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes -- Visiting the Silver Lake Sand Dunes makes for a terrific vacation because you can take your off-road vehicle for a spin on the scenic sand dunes overlooking Lake Michigan and Silver Lake.
Things to Do in Pentwater, Michigan -- Nothing is quite like the quaint, artsy, harbortown village of Pentwater. Don't miss the popular Charles Mears State Park beach on Pentwater's Lake Michigan shoreline.
Lots of Activities in Scottville, Michigan -- Explore the Riverside Park along the National Scenic Pere Marquette River.
Canoeing or Fishing on the Pere Marquette River -- Many boat liveries offer canoe rentals.
Also, check out West Michigan Guides and our locally produced for our largest lists of Things to Do in West Michigan.

Last Updated: 09-23-2014 03:31 PM ID: 167