Local color

MERRIMACK – Silo’s Restaurant is long gone, replaced by the Homestead. But the silo at the side of the Daniel Webster Highway eatery has never been better.

The structure, one of Merrimack’s historic landmarks, recently got a makeover courtesy of a local teenager and a Manchester artist, who worked together over recent months to give the silo a new look.

Anthony Williams, of Manchester, completed a full paint job earlier this month. But the new design, depicting willow trees over a winding New Hampshire road, is the brainchild of Cody Gladstone, a college student from Merrimack, who won a design contest put on earlier this year by the Homestead Restaurant.

Restaurant managers asked Merrimack High school students to submit designs, and customers were invited to choose their favorite. They selected Gladstone’s picture from a field of more than 100 submissions, according to Nate Carney, the restaurant’s general manager.

“It looks great. A lot of people have commented on it,” Carney said of the mural that now fronts the historic silo.

“It’s a typical kind of country theme,” he said. “Birch trees, a wandering path, colored leaves. … It’s all come together at the right time of year.”

Restaurant managers, who bought the site last year, started making plans for the silo almost immediately.

They painted and repaired the structure as part of renovations, but the new white color called for something more, Carney said.

In the spring, restaurant managers brought the contest idea to the Merrimack High School National Art Honor Society, which called for design ideas from the school community. And within several weeks, students submitted more than 100 designs.

Restaurant staff narrowed the field to eight finalists, and the customers were then invited to select their favorite, choosing Gladstone’s by a wide margin.

“It’s sort of crazy to think about,” Gladstone said last spring. “I’ve driven by that silo a thousand times. … It means a lot to know I’ll be a part of it.”

With the design in place, restaurant managers started to search for a painter to make the design a reality. And before long, Williams approached them about the job.

Williams, a commissioner of the Manchester Art Commission, had heard about the project through a friend, and he was immediately drawn in by Gladstone’s design.

“I don’t know if (Cody) would agree with me, but, to me, it’s almost surrealistic,” he said. “I know good artwork when I see it, and this is just beautiful.”

Once the arrangements were in place, Williams set to work in September, converting the design to a large-scale mural. Rain interfered at times, delaying the process, but Williams was able to complete the project in just under two weeks.

“It’s great. It’s probably one of the best (pieces) I’ve ever done,” he said.

“I couldn’t believe how well it came out,” said Carney, general manager of the Homestead.

“It must be hard going from an 8 by 11 piece of paper to a 40-foot silo, but it’s a great representation. … It stands right out.”

Jake Berry can be reached at 594-6402 or jberry@nashuatelegraph.com.