Warren County officials cut the ribbon on a community entrance sign at Linden. The sign is a canoe floating on the river framed by the mountains (trees) behind it. The sign is built out of stone and concrete around a cinderblock base. The concrete surface has been stained to emulate water cascading over the rapids with the canoe “gliding” over the rapids. The sign pays homage to the river, the commerce it generates and the beautiful mountains that envelop our community with the trees as the backdrop.
The concept for the sign, designed by local architect Fred Andreae, came from County Administrator Doug Stanley. Stanley noted that over the years visitors would remark that they did not know that they were in Warren County or had entered the County. Looking at other County entrance signs he wanted to come up with a concept using natural stone in the design as it was historically a natural building material. That later blossomed into the idea to incorporate the fact that Front Royal-Warren County has been designated as the canoe capital of Virginia. “We are hoping people will stop and visit the sign. You can climb into the canoe and get your picture taken,” Stanley added.
Board Chairman Dan Murray thanked local businessmen George McIntyre and Katie Tewell for their generosity and continued support of the community by donating the easement for the location. “Without their dedication to this community, this project would not have happened. George and Katie truly care about Warren County and seeing us be successful and thrive.” Stanley noted that he and George had been talking about the sign concept for a number of years and finally got around to making the concept a reality.
Fred Andreae noted that, “We are so fortunate to live here in Warren County where we are able to step out our back doors into the natural world of both the mountains and the rivers. The welcoming sign we created is a visual tableau that conveys better than words the fun and excitement of the recreational opportunities we have here - the wonderful adventures awaiting visitors and their families.”
In addition to Fred Andreae, local artist Michele Sommers “painted” the water on the concrete finish to give the canoe the appearance of floating on water. Mrs. Sommers was identified through working with Kym Crump of the Blue Ridge Arts Council as someone who could give life to the sign. "When I was afforded the opportunity to work on this very unique project for our County, I was excited, but a little nervous, about working with a new-to-me substrate (concrete) and medium (concrete stain). I must admit I am honored to have been chosen to help promote our picturesque County in such a creative way. I would like to thank Mr. Doug Stanley and his associates for their interesting vision, and the folks at our local Sherwin Williams for directing me to the right products and tools, and generally holding my hand during the process!"
The location for the sign was selected due to Route 55/Exit 13 serving as one main tourist entry points to the community. Stanley noted that the goal of identifying the County at one of the most visible tourist entrances to the community has been achieved and achieved in a way that we hope people will remember that they came through Warren County and remember the uniqueness of the sign. It is a good combination of functional sign and public art.
The sign was completed at a material cost of approximately $6,700. Stanley added that, “I want to give a special thanks to Alan Munson, Lee Cockrell and the rest of our Parks and Recreation Maintenance crew including our work force inmates who constructed the sign. We are very fortunate to have some very talented people work for the County. We also need to thank our good friend John Gibson of Downriver Canoe Company for donating the canoe for the project. The Shenandoah River is an important part of the community in so many ways; it was nice to include it in the sign concept.”
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