Mendota looking to add second mural on Silo Pathways Countryside Public Art Tour

Former historic Union Depot Train Station targeted for downtown Mendota


MENDOTA – A project that could see the “reincarnation” of the former Union Depot Train Station is underway in Mendota. An announcement for the “Raise the Depot” project was made during a special event on Aug. 2 at the Breaking the Prairie and Union Depot Railroad museums.

“Raise the Depot” would be the latest public art installation for the Silo Pathways Countryside Public Art Tour. A three-dimensional, 127-foot wide by 50-feet tall mural depicting the historic Union Depot Train Station as it was in downtown Mendota in the 1900s is being proposed and commissioned by Gabe and Michelle Wade in appreciation of the station’s historic significance and stunning turn-of-the century architecture. The mural would be placed on the south side of the Triple Service Inc. building at the corner of Illinois Avenue and Monroe Street in downtown Mendota.

“We appreciate history, heritage and we love our town,” said Michelle Wade. “This piece brings it all to fruition, especially for those who never got to see this magnificent building in real life. We want to raise the depot for upcoming generations to enjoy.”

The mural designer/artist is Ray Paseka and the creation of the art piece would be done right here in Mendota. It would be made up of pre-painted aluminum sheeting (4x10 foot each) mounted to a steel support grid. The structure would have a layered, dimensional effect with the station tower featuring a three-dimensional, train-shaped weather wave at its peak, rising above the main structure. Both the locomotive and train track would stand away from the support grid and windows within the structure would have translucent inlays to allow for diffused lighting. Construction methods would preserve the mural for decades.

“The Union Depot is a very important part of Mendota history, and we welcome the mural as a reminder of that amazing building that was demolished in 1942,” noted Emily McConville, Mendota city clerk.

NCI ARTworks developed Silo Pathways in 2017 as a curated outdoor art gallery through LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties. The Union Depot mural would be the second public art project in Mendota for the Silo Pathways Countryside Public Art Tour. “Mendota Gold” is located on the southern silo at the Northern Partners Cooperative. Other installations are in Cherry, Princeton and Streator, with two more projects in the works in LaSalle and Seneca.

“The Mendota Union Depot mural is designed to become part of the Silo Pathways Countryside Public Art Tour,” explained Chris Coughlin, chair, Silo Pathways Legacy Project through NCI ARTworks. “Developing this tourism attraction through LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties is the legacy project of NCI ARTworks, our regional arts agency. Begun in 2017, there currently are four completed projects on the pathway and three under development.”

NCI ARTworks plans to curate 15 works of art in the first phase of the Silo Pathways Countryside Public Art Tour. NCI ARTworks is a regional arts organization dedicated to supporting and expanding the arts community through artistic collaboration, educational outreach and art space development in the 2,000-square mile area of LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties, and five contiguous counties (approximately 150,000 residents). NCI ARTworks is a 501(c)(3) non-profit in Illinois and recognized by the IRS.

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In conjunction with the announcement of the Union Depot art project, a fundraising campaign will be launched during the Mendota Sweet Corn Festival to bring the mural to realization. Anyone wishing to donate to the project may contact Gabe or Michelle Wade at 815-539-3828 or Coughlin at 815-228-1253 or