Benson's Mural Project
Established in 2003 Benson Clean and Beautiful was a originally organized to spearhead beautification efforts in the City of Benson. In 2013 Benson Clean and Beautiful was revitalized as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization (pending IRS approval); the first priority was to commission outdoor murals in downtown Benson. An idea suggested and promoted by Lisa Hill.
Enjoy the historical murals on the Benson Visitors Center walls
You can enjoy a walking tour of Benson’s Historic Murals and Railroad History. Located in the parking area of the Benson Visitors Center at 249 East 4th Street. This particular group of murals features Benson’s railroad history complete with historic railroad logos which were made possible by a grant from Union Pacific Railroad. Additionally, San Pedro and Southwestern Railroad also donated their logos for this collection.
Enjoy photos of a few of these murals here, but be sure to take time to stop by the Benson Visitors Center to enjoy the whole collection.
Section Gang – Benson c.1900 Every railroad had section gangs, also known as gandy dancers, and rode the tracks in open rail cars called pumper cars. These section gangs were responsible for maintaining and repairing miles of track.
This was a TW-3 class Southern Pacific Mastadon 4-8-0 steam locomotive built between 1899 and 1898. The photo was probably taken around 1918 and this train was used until the late 1930’s.
Number 98 Engine at Benson Depot c. 1912.
Southern Pacific Caboose c. 1960 – This caboose was donated to the City of Benson by Southern Pacific Railroad in 1995 and now sits on the corner of San Pedro and 4th Streets
Other murals in and around Benson
We also have the Benson’s smelter series which was made possible with sponsorships from the City of Benson, Sierra Southwest Coop and Sulpher Springs Valley Electric and a more recently completed project can be seen at the Horse Shoe Café (Insert photo 14). According to the San Pedro Valley News-Sun:
“The restoration of the historic “Ghost Riders” on the west wall of the Horse Shoe Café has finally become a reality. It will once again be a point of interest and a tourist draw for our great city. Doug Quarles has done a fabulous job of re-creating this mural – kudus to you, Doug!
We are proud to announce that the Horse Shoe Café mural was sponsored entirely by the Horse Shoe Café and Benson Clean & Beautiful with no funds from the City of Benson. We also received funds in the donation box inside the Horse Shoe Café and we wish to thank all who contributed to this endeavor.”
Become a member of Benson Clean and Beautiful
There are many wonderful ideas for future murals, but Benson Clean and Beautiful needs members in order to support the Mural Project, as well as other worthy projects throughout Benson, including park benches, tree planting and continue Adopt-a-Neighborhood clean-up day.
There are membership levels that range from Student and Senior $10/year, individuals $15/year, families $20/year, businesses $50 - $500/year and corporate $500+/year. You can download a copy of our brochure and membership/donation application form here.
“The murals are a colorful way to revitalize Benson while presenting the town’s unique history. Everywhere I go to talk about this project, people are enthusiastic about the idea, but we need sponsors and donations to keep it going. We have a talented muralist in Doug Quarles and he’s very excited about painting up Benson.” …Lisa Hill