The cuts and scrapes that Temple Terrace woman’s clubs members received while chipping away pieces of tile from the old Publix mural have healed, and now the clubs are spreading the pieces around the community.
On Saturday, a few clubs members gathered at the City of Temple Terrace Family Recreation Complex to place six stepping stones in the landscaping in front of the building. Each stone displays a mosaic made out of the salvaged Publix mural tile pieces.
“I never realized how neat it is to go back and see what you’ve forgotten,” said Maryrose Owens, president of the GFWC Temple Terrace Woman’s Club. “I moved here in 1974, and I will always remember that Publix each time I see one of these stones. That’s where most everybody went to get groceries.”
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Murals no longer adorn Publix storefronts, however, there was a time when approximately 100 Publix murals existed, according to Shannon Patten, Publix spokeswoman. Designs varied depending on the community desires or what the shopping center represented.
Dated 1978 by artist Pati Mills, the Publix mural in Temple Terrace depicted a farm, tractor and an orange grove representative of the 5,000 acres of Temple oranges originally planted in this community. The mural couldn’t have been saved as a whole.
“Over the years, many have tried to preserve them in some way, but it’s just not possible,” Patten said. “The tiles crumble and break because they are dried and brittle due to the length of time they have been on the building.”
But that didn’t stop the woman’s clubs. The day before Publix was set to be demolished, women and David Long, husband of clubs member Anita Long, chipped off some of the tile pieces. At that time, clubs weren’t sure exactly how the pieces would be used but speculated they might help create a mosaic, commemorative art, a path through a garden or perhaps at one of the city’s recreation centers.
In August, members used the pieces to create mosaic stepping stones. There are 14 stones in addition to the six that were placed Saturday.
“We’re going to try to get them in all the parks in Temple Terrace,” said Anita Long, who is a member of both the Temple Terrace Woman’s Club and the Junior Woman’s Club. “We’ll have to check with the city on that first.”
The clubs are also making paperweights out of some of the pieces.
“I think it’s something to put into our community from the past,” Irene Bosek, treasurer of the Temple Terrace Woman’s Club, said of the project.
Scott Andrews, Temple Terrace athletics supervisor, was at the Family Recreation Complex Saturday and affixed a sign from the woman’s clubs explaining the project in the reception area. He said he thinks the project is a “fantastic idea.”
“We’re quite literally preserving Temple Terrace one step at a time,” he said.
For more information, visit the GFWC Temple Terrace Woman’s Club online or the GFWC Temple Terrace Junior Woman’s Club on Facebook.