Bel Air mural

Work began this week on a mural being painted on the side of the Sheriff's Office headquarters in Bel Air and depicting the nearby courthouse square as it looked in the 1950s. The house on the left once sat on the site of the building where the mural is being painted. (BRYNA ZUMER | AEGIS STAFF, Homestead Publishing / April 11, 2013)

The painting of a mural on the north wall of the Harford County Sheriff's Office headquarters is under way in earnest this week.

The mural, which is being paid for by the town of Bel Air, will overlook the town's Main Street parking lot, built last year after the BB&T Bank building that stood on the site was acquired by the town and demolished. That opened up the bare wall of the sheriff's headquarters, which had butted against the bank building.

The mural will depict the adjoining courthouse square as it looked prior to the 1950s, when a house stood on the site of the sheriff's building, in front of the old jail which is still standing. The house was provided to the elected sheriff and his family by the county, and in earlier times, the sheriff's wife often handled the preparing of meals for jail inmates. The current sheriff's headquarters was originally constructed to house the main offices of the county government.

But the mural will also show touches of the contemporary courthouse square across Main Street from the sheriff's building, including the center island in the street installed a few years ago slow down traffic passing the courthouse and to make it easier for pedestrians to cross.

"That's the idea, old and new," Bel Air Town Administrator Chris Schlehr said Tuesday.

The mural is being painted by Marshall Adams, and earlier this week he couldn't have asked for better weather, with temperatures climbing into the high 70s and low 80s Monday and Tuesday and near 90 Wednesday. The town is spending $9,000 for the mural.

If the weather keeps cooperating, he hopes to be finished by early May, Adams said Wednesday afternoon.

Noting that the work was progressing speedily, Schlehr added: "That's what he [Adams] does."