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Restored, historic ‘ghost mural’ unveiled on Berlin building

Local artist Olga Deshields spent the past few weeks repainting snd restoring a historic “ghost mural’ on the side of a red brick building at 11 Pitts St. in Berlin.

Berlin 'ghost mural'

Local artist Olga Deshields carefully repaints a ‘ghost mural’ on the side of a building on Pitts Street in Berlin.
Charlene Sharpe / Bayside Gazette

By Charlene Sharpe, Associate Editor

Restoration of a historic advertising mural was recently completed on Pitts Street in Berlin. 

Passersby over the last few weeks have likely caught sight of local artist Olga Deshields on a scissor lift alongside the red brick building at 11 Pitts St., carefully repainting the “ghost mural” on its side. The long-faded mural is being restored thanks to a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

“Restoring the faded ‘ghost mural’ advertisement is crucial as it revives a piece of our town’s history and preserves the story of our community for generations to come,” Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director, said.

Two years ago, John Holloway, a member of the Berlin Historic District Commission, brought up the idea of restoring the faded advertising murals after seeing the old mural for the G.M. Dryden General Merchandise store restored in Snow Hill. Wells began exploring potential funding for the project and called for the community to share any old photos of the buildings before the murals faded. 

With some photos of the Pitts Street building from 1959 eventually located, Deshields last week started restoring the American Sales Co. advertisements. Members of the historic commission said they were thrilled to see the project underway. 

“The ghost sign on Pitts Street looks awesome,” commission member Brian Robertson said. 

Holloway too said he was excited to see the completed murals. He said he was surprised that he didn’t remember the murals better, since the photos found depicting them were taken around Easter 1959. He said he’d been in town since 1965.

“That wouldn’t have faded when I was a kid,” Holloway said. “I just don’t remember it.”

The $8,000 project is being funded with a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

This story appears in the May 2, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.