Ramona Heart Mural Project
Below are two of the mural projects I’ve completed for the city of Ramona California.
“The main goal of the Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project is to create a reason for those passing tourists to STOP to enjoy Ramona’s beauty, charm, character and heritage, and to rest a spell. After looking to the examples set by other mural towns, a group of Ramona business people came together to launch an aggressive outdoor visual arts program, starting with murals.
The acronym, H.E.A.R.T. not only indicates Ramona as the geographic center of San Diego County, but reflects the character of the community. “H” for Historic and Hiking, “E” for Equine, “A” for Arts, Antiques and Agriculture, “R” for scenic rural vistas and drives, and “T” for Tasting of fine wines.”
Engine #2 Historic Mural
Fire Engine #2 served Ramona as a valuable front-line truck for brush and structure fires, many times being used to knock down fence posts with the heavy bumper to get to a fire in an open field; and sometimes dragging the barb wire behind. But after 39 years of service, in 1966 Engine #2 was put out to pasture and sold at auction to rancher, Gordon Carter, who used it as a tanker to irrigate a young avocado grove near Poway.
For about five years the Dodge rested forlornly on a hillside near the old Poway Grade, gradually being vandalized and falling into disrepair, when in 1973 it was obtained by the Poway Firemen’s Association. That summer the members restored Engine #2 at their own expense and time, bringing it back to near original condition. In the following 20 years the Poway Association put it on display at antique car shows, public events and parades where it earned many awards.
But in 1991, due to changing times and priorities the Poway Association put Engine #2 up for auction and it would change hands again. The author of this article successfully bid two hundred dollars more than did Chief Gil Turrentine, of the San Pasqual Fire Department, thus Engine #2 was brought back to Ramona where it was first put in service, and where it has been maintained and stored indoors and is used in many parades and for public display.
Since it has been returned to Ramona it has been used for some unusual events. When Chief Robertson passed away he was given a special memorial and was carried in his casket aboard the hose bed of Engine #2 to the cemetery. When “Old Jim McWhorter” died, someone remembered that he always wanted to ride in a parade, so an urn of Old Jim’s ashes were placed aboard Engine #2 during a parade down Main Street. Miraculously Engine #2 survived the Witch Creek Firestorm while being stored in a metal building, when everything else around it was lost.
So now in the twilight of a grand career, Old #2, with its vintage gears that mesh with speeds of a bygone time, has come home for us to behold; showing off in all its dignity the shiny chrome, polished brass and its gold-leaf letters over glossy red paint; with ladders and spanners, and all the chrome nozzles and the fireman’s axe.