Monday, August 17, 2015

That American Flag Overlooking Route 2

That American flag painted on a rocky ledge overlooking Ohio State Route 2 near Amherst is like an old friend that we never get tired of seeing. There’s something comfortable and reassuring about seeing the symbol of our country peeking through the brush there year after year. I’m sure that the flag probably stirs unexpected feelings of patriotism as well.

How long has it been up there? If you’re not familiar with the story behind the flag, this article from the August 6, 1976 edition of the Lorain Journal explains it all.

****
Amherst Brother and Sister
Painted SR 2 Flag as a Bicentennial Salute
By Michele Rice
Staff Writer

GRANT AND BARBARA THOMPSON display their
finished product, a 27 by 16 foot Bicentennial Flag.
(Journal Photo by J. Ross Baughman.)
AMHERST – A large Bicentennial flag greets eastbound travelers on SR 2 today, thanks to the work of an Amherst brother and sister.

Grant Thompson, 21 and his 19-year-old sister, Barbara, painted the flag on the ledge overlooking the roadway on July 4. For years, that ledge was used for graffiti.

“We were thinking of something to do for the Bicentennial a year ago, and never got around to it until then,” said Grant, a student at Western College of Miami University, at Oxford, Ohio.

“It looks better than those names, “ he said, and hopes the flag painting will stay.

“If somebody paints over it, I will be mad. I’ll just go down and paint over it again,” he explained.

GRANT said the state-owned property for SR 2 abuts his father’s 75 acres. The cliff is part of an old quarry there.

It took the two about eight hours to paint the flag, and four gallons of paint.

While working on the project, they attracted a lot of attention from drivers.

“All of the sudden the cars started honking and people stopped to talk to us. One guy stopped and gave us three Pepsi’s,” said Grant. “It was kind of neat.”

ALTHOUGH GRANT has a brother, and three other sisters besides Barbara, the others didn’t help with the painting.

“We wanted to do it ourselves,” explained Grant. “We called it OUR Bicentennial project.”

Barbara attends Akron University, majoring in art. Both of them designed the flag.

They reside at 6020 Oberlin Road, Amherst.

****
Photo Courtesy of the book
Sandstone Center of the World by James A. Hieb
The book Sandstone Center of the World by James Hieb includes a photo (above) of the flag and a capsule history.

It states, “Travelers on State Route 2 just east of Amherst witness the American Flag painted by Barbara (Brucker) and Grant Thompson in 1976 to celebrate our nation’s bicentennial. While the flag has occasionally also been painted with graffiti, good samaritans have always touched up the flag following these acts of ill-respect. Following the 911 attacks, Barbara and Grant, along with family members again gave the flag a fresh coat of paint as a testimony of patriotism.”

****
Grant Thompson later became the chief naturalist for the Lorain County Metro Parks. The Chronicle-Telegram interviewed him in 2011 and he talked about painting the flag with his sister, as well as what it means to the community 35 years later. Here’s a link to that interview.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always wondered about that flag. Thanks Dan.

Wireless.Phil said...

I remember it being covered in graffiti and cuss words before the flag.

Col. Matt Nahorn said...

This sandstone outcropping is part of the original Nicholl Quarry - the Nicholl house (who owned the quarry) is still there on N. Ridge Rd. (built of sandstone) very near Route 2.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Grant & Barbara!

Linda Schneider said...

Have seen that flag many times over years & now I know it's story. It was painted the year I moved to Lorain County and here I remain. Thank you Barbara & Grant for that beautiful patriotic flag for all who are observant see riding down Rt. 2 ��

nikki morris said...

I happened to find your blog on fb. I've lived in ohio for 29 years of my 31 yr old life lol but I never knew the story behind that, thank you :)

Hope (New) Wilkinson said...

I grew up in Amherst and Lorain, too, but never knew the story of this flag. Thanks for sharing it on Facebook cousin Linda New Morrow (also from Lorain County).

Larry White said...

All I know is that flag is cool, and I hope it stays there forever!