Downtown Panama’s historic Coca-Cola mural has been restored by artists

PANAMA CITY — The restoration of a long-lost mural in downtown Panama City is now complete.

The Panama City Coca-Cola Bottling Company held a grand unveiling ceremony Wednesday morning for the restored Coca-Cola mural from the late 1950s. Harrison, along the Tom’s Hot Dogs building.

The mural was discovered in late 2021 when the city unmasked the side of the building and found the faded paint from the original project. The restoration began this year with support from Pam Armstrong, owner of Tom’s Hot Dogs, and local artists Logan Flint and Skip Bondur.

“It was very exciting to see that the mural was still there after parts of the wall were removed,” Armstrong said. “The finished mural turned out more than I expected, and I can’t say enough good things about it. This project not only brought another mural to downtown, but shows the history of the city.

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Flint and Bondur began their mission to restore the historic mural in late June, which took about four weeks. The painting stood on what was once the site of a Texaco gas station and is now part of Tom’s Hot Dogs.

“I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to get my hands on this wall because its history means a lot to me,” Flint said, noting that his grandparents met at this same corner. “Being part of a growing community and its history is really what it’s all about for me.”

The community celebrated with a toast of Coca-Cola provided by the bottling company, followed by a countdown to the unveiling of the mural. Additionally, complimentary hot dogs from Tom’s were served to guests.

City officials say the downtown murals are a big factor in the city’s revitalization after Hurricane Michael. Catherine Shores, president of the Downtown Improvement Board, said the mural program has taken off in the right direction for downtown Panama City and has been a great addition to the city.

“Seeing how Coca-Cola has invested its history in Panama City only renews my faith and my hope and makes me excited to see the contours of our community,” Shores said. “Having this project done by local painters is a phenomenal connection to the history of Panama City.”

David H. Henry