A piece of village history will be brought to life on Saturday with the unveiling of the latest mural of the Illinois Lincoln Highway mural series.
The mural, which will be located on Front Street in the heart of downtown Mokena, will depict the Cooper & Hostert Garage, which was the area’s first Ford dealership and remained in business for more than 50 years.
“It provides a sense of place, a sense of history,” said Assistant Village Administrator Kirk Zoellner.
The Mokena Area Historical Society collaborated with the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition to determine the mural’s subject. They selected the Cooper & Hostert Garage because of its historical significance to Mokena and its relevance to the highway and to car travel. The garage opened in 1916 and Henry Ford personally signed the dealership’s contract.
Jay Allen, of ShawCrafts Sign Company, hand-painted the mural, which was installed on Tuesday. The rendering is based on photographs from the Robert Horras Family History Collection.
Mokena’s will be the 30th of 35 murals to be unveiled and the 8th out of 9 in the Chicago Southland. When completed, the murals will tell the story of Lincoln Highway
The Cooper & Hostert mural is valued at $10,000 and, with the exception of installation and maintenance costs, it is being funded entirely by federal and state grants.
Village officials originally considered locating the mural on a wall visible from Lincoln Highway or as part of a freestanding monument along the highway.
However, concerns regarding construction on the highway led the village to select a wall on the old Mokena sales building, which will provide excellent visibility for passersby and will shelter the artwork from the elements.
In its current location, the mural is estimated to survive 25 years. Nevertheless, the village board may consider relocating the work to Lincoln Highway in the future.
Village officials hope the mural will serve as a tourist destination and bring visitors to the village.
“It’s a good way to tell the story of the town,” said Scott Bort, public relations manager for the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The unveiling will take place at 11 a.m. Feb. 2 at 11104 Front St. Cookies and hot cocoa will be provided.
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