Those driving down Highway 254 west of El Dorado are once again seeing a familiar sight in the landscape.
A big “Towanda” is again painted on a silo outside of the city of Towanda.
In 1999, David L. Traylor was painting the sign on a concrete silo when he fell and died. The W was slanted on the sign as a memorial to Traylor.
Then on May 8, 2009, the original painted silo was destroyed by weather and it has been a goal ever since to get that replaced.
“When the silo was blown over in the storm that was a sad moment and it was hard to identify Towanda because once the new highway went in it bypassed Towanda,” said Towanda Mayor Jennifer Shaults, who has been working on the repainting project for three years.
She said the state won’t let them put a sign on the highway because they are not a major stopping point.
So the silo was the only thing that identified Towanda to passers-by.
“We always had the idea to paint the new one,” said Matt Engels, Towanda city administrator. “It had become a landmark for the city. We didn’t want to let it slip away.”
Engels said it took a few years for planning and to get permission from the landowner to paint the remaining silo. The city also had to come up with the funds for it. The cost of $3,500 was budgeted over a number of years.
Then Kerry Unrein was hired to paint the sign, which was changed to be the Circle High School colors.
The work was started on Sept. 28 and finished on Oct. 2.
Now as people drive by, they will see the familiar landmark, but might notice something slightly different.
This time the W was slanted the opposite direction.
Shaults said they slanted the W the other way to remain a memorial to Traylor but also to signify the community is headed in a new direction.
“A lot of people have commented on it and we are happy to see it back,” she said. “Hopefully it will identify Towanda again and people will see where we are at.”
In addition to painting the sign, they also cut some weeds and small trees to create a better entryway to the city.
Engels offered a thank you to those involved with the work and to the landowner, Scott Bergkamp, for allowing for the improvement to be made on his property.
“A lot of people have been calling and saying thank you and it looks nice,” Engels said.
Julie Clements can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.