Known the world over, muralist and Bethany resident, Dr. Bob Palmer with help from university students, has thus far painted all of the historic murals in downtown Bethany. The murals are part of Bethany Improvement Foundation’s plan to attract tourists and recognize the city's history since 1909. The murals have been included in state and national publications describing Route 66 destinations.
Bethany Improvement Foundation offers a grant to cover half of the cost of a mural. For more information about sharing the cost of a mural, please contact Susan Martin, BIF secretary at email@example.com. She can send you an application and information about the process.
'The Ambush,' painted by Dr. Bob Palmer honors Grant Keeton who is depicted as the rider on the horse on the left. Keeton was the postmaster in Bethany, Oklahoma from 1962-1982. If you look carefully, you can match the Pony Express workers to current post office employees. Members of the Bethany Kiwanis Club in conjunction with Bethany Improvement Foundation paid for the mural.
Wehrenberg Soda Fountain
Dr. Palmer also painted the Wehrenberg Drug’s Soda Fountain mural painted on a wall that is best seen from the parking lot south of the ‘main street’ or 39th Expressway businesses. To honor the Unruh family, Anna Unruh Pendergast Takemire contributed the mural that depicts her husband Melvin Unruh, and her sons Gary Unruh, and Don Unruh. Anna and Melvin operated the fountain service 14 hours per day during the years when Melvin was a student at Bethany Nazarene College. Melvin later became a professor at BNC and Anna was a teacher in Bethany Public Schools. The image on the murals is from a black and white family photograph and is printed in ‘Celebrating Bethany Centennial’ book.
For decades, Bethany citizens have called on McClures’ Flowers to create floral arrangements for happy and sad occasions. In 1966, when she opened, Wanda became the second woman business owner in Bethany. She worked at the business and raised her children while making floral arrangements, as did her daughter, Linda Moon did when her children were young. Linda and her son, Michael Moon, now run the business with his children, Ryan Emilee and Amanda, who have grown up around the flower business. The family bought the lower half of a mural to honor the matriarch and business founder, Wanda McClure who passed away in 2008 and the rest of the family.
West Asbury Mural
The mural on the west side of the intersection at 39th Expressway and Asbury features five institutions of Bethany that date to the first year: the City of Bethany, Bethany First Church of the Nazarene, Bethany Public Schools, Southern Nazarene University, called Oklahoma Holiness College in 1909 and The Children’s Center, earlier known as Oklahoma Orphanage.
The children and founder of The Children’s Center are painted in the center and largest picture. After operating the Oklahoma Orphanage at several locations in downtown Oklahoma City, Mattie Mallory moved the children to Bethany in 1909. The Children’s Center is a private, nonprofit hospital that serves children with complex medical and physical disabilities. Mallory was one of the original settlers in Bethany and signed the city charter. From money she made selling the plot of land, Beulah Heights, to the Oklahoma Railway Company, she purchased the site in Bethany and gave "considerable aid" or a loan to Reverend C.B. Jernigan to purchase the land for Oklahoma Holiness College and build two buildings.
East Asbury Mural
The mural photographs on the east side of the intersection of 39th Expressway and Asbury show well-known current and historical Bethany institutions and individuals, as well as local landmarks. The Lake Overholser bridge and vehicles that could have carried families traveling Route 66 in years’ past, a rail car from the El Reno or Oklahoma Railway Company and the Bethany depot, Bethany Public Schools, downtown businesses and the water tower that once stood south of the same intersection are some of images on the wall.
•• This mural set was used by award-winning, popular local photograher Sarah Libby as the backdrop for a few of Allie [Oakes] and Trey Faulkner’s 2015 wedding photos. Faulker and photographer Sarah Thompson are Bethany natives. Copyright ® 2015 by Sarah Libby. Photograph used by permission.
East College Street Mural
Postcards of past Bethany buildings and people cover the wall on the east side of College Street and 39th Expressway. Most of the images are drawn from photographs. One of the Bethany Improvement Foundation founding members, the last Bethany Tribune editor Gloria Quaid is in the mural holding a newspaper. Tourists and Pokémon players are often witnessed posing and taking photos beside the Route 66 sign or the painted old vehicles.