By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer
A landscape is coming inside, and a rundown Elida boarding house is being transformed into a nostalgic community gathering place.
Elida City Councilor Glen Shot plans to turn the North Side Feed Store, once a boarding house, into a gathering place and museum of historical objects.
Shot has also hired Clovis artist Paul von Johl to cover one interior wall with a mural depicting the countryside and landmark buildings in Elida at the turn of the century.
“It’s got character to me,” Shot said of the old structure, which he said was built in 1906.
Shot, 73, said he bought the building “because it was old, and I’m old, so I thought, ‘It will go with me.” He also wanted something to do.
When he purchased it in December, the store was full of junk — barrels, glass and augers, and the ceiling was in disrepair. The trash is now gone. The old walls now have multiple new coats of paint and Shot’s son Mark has restored the ceiling.
“If I didn’t have him, I couldn’t buy this (building),” Shot said of his son, who has done much of the restoration.
Von Johl, who said he pays his bills as a handyman, has been painting a landscape across a 75-foot interior wall. It includes some real buildings. However, he embellishes the scene with trees, barns, outhouses and more according to his imagination.
“It’s my little world,” von Johl said. “It just happens to be based on reality.”
Although he has painted murals before, the project is the biggest von Johl has done since his art career began at age 7. He works from old pictures photocopied from Elida’s 100th anniversary book.
During the past two weeks, von Johl has painted on six days. He hopes to finish Monday.
As for Shot’s vision, he plans to make the large room on the lower floor a place for people to talk, drink soda or coffee, look at old-fashioned items and reminisce. He said he would provide the drinks and would like to make his own root beer.
Shot envisions turning the small first-floor room into a “Roy Rogers Room” with old furniture and cowboy pictures. According to his plan, old household items, bears carved from logs, pictures and tables will decorate the first floor.
On the second floor, Shot said he plans to set large images of famous actors from old Western movies in the windows, using different images at different times so people can see a change.
Shot doesn’t want the public on the second floor, because the staircase he plans to build would be too steep, he said.
In two months or less, Shot said, he hopes to have the work on the building finished. Shot, his son and his girlfriend, Dale Burrow, continue that project when the weather is too windy for the Shots to work on their tree-trimming business.
Tasks that remain include painting, decorating, having the electrical system upgraded and deciding what to do with the front window spaces that are missing glass.
The desire to restore the building arose from Shot’s ties to the community and enjoyment of the work.
Shot said he came to Elida in 1960, moved to Clovis 1973 and returned in 2007 because Clovis had gotten too big for him. He plans to stay in Elida until he dies.
The city councilor says many historical buildings in Elida are falling down.
“It’s not important; it’s just me,” Shot said of the restoration.