Wolf Building Owner Seeks Mural of Mount Rainier


Steve Craig envisions a painting of Mount Rainier on the side of the downtown Yelm building he owns.

Surrounded by lush, green vegetation and with a crystal-blue river bubbling through the foreground, the mural reads, “Yelm — Gateway to Mt. Rainier.”

Craig’s building — the historic Wolf building — is on the city’s historic register.

The Yelm Historic Commission is holding a special meeting 4 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Yelm City Hall conference room, 105 Yelm Ave. W., to discuss whether Craig should be granted a “certificate of appropriateness” for the proposed mural. The meeting is open to the public.

A certificate of appropriateness is necessary for additions or alterations to buildings on the Yelm Historical Register, according to a notice from the city.

Craig has provided a mock-up of the proposed mural, said Gary Carlson, the city’s building official and staff to the historic commission. The commission will review the mock-up and determine its significance to the building, he said.

The Wolf building is home of the Triad Theater, owned by Calamity Jayne, and Craig noted the “Triad” in the theater’s name refers in part to Mount Rainier’s three high points as viewed from Yelm.

“It’s tied to the theater. That was one of the motivations, so people will sort of associate the Triad Theater with Mount Rainier and make that connection,” he said.

Additionally, Yelm and Mount Rainier’s history is tied together, Craig said.

P.B. Van Trump from the Yelm area climbed Mount Rainier with John Muir and the pair joined forces to push for the establishment of Mount Rainier National Park, Craig said. The park recognizes Yelm as a “gateway community” to the mountain, he said.

Craig said he thinks Yelm has the best view of Mount Rainier of any city or town in Washington.

“If we were to embrace the connection with Mount Rainier, it would be of benefit to the community,” Craig said. “I think businesses would certainly benefit if there was broader knowledge about the connection.”

The proposed mural design was done by artist Seth Leamer, who has worked for Trader Joe’s and painted most of the company’s murals, Craig said.

Leamer’s design evokes the style of postcards that are still available at Mount Rainier National Park, Craig said.

Craig noted murals put the town of Chemainus, British Columbia, on the map. Likewise, a series of murals could help put Yelm on the map, he said. He said Leamer has been talking to about six business owners, whose businesses are located in Yelm’s downtown core, about possibly designing murals for their buildings.

“I think this could be exciting because I think if we expand it to initiate conversations with other businesses in town, Seth could quote-unquote ‘paint the town,’” he said.


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