The murals at Mama D’s: In Salida, wall art tells story of an era

Southwest Life

The murals at Mama D’s: In Salida, wall art tells story of an era

Perhaps the most beloved mural at Mama’s Deli in Salida features a “wolf” on the prowl for girls. The mural is vintage 1940s American popular culture. The artist, Bill Blake, modeled his caricatures after local residents, and Mae Prunty, one of the diner’s owners, claimed to have known every one of the artist’s models.
In a far corner of Mama D’s Deli, the artist Bill Blake, who had been arrested for stealing cars, painted a self-portrait in 1945. No one in Salida knows what happened to him when he quit doing odd jobs and left the café.
Salida began as a train town, and Neil’s Café, which preceded Mama D’s, had a contract with the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad to serve trainmen 24 hours a day. In this mural, a conductor and brakeman synchronize their pocket watches with a railroad engineer in his denim overalls.
Mike Baker, left, and Jim Quinn are Mama D’s owners and cooks. They are dedicated local Salida businessmen who enjoy watching new customers come in and view the 1940s murals for the first time. The two owners have promised to protect the murals.
The railroads would eventually lose freight business to interstate highways and 18-wheeled trucks. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad tried to diversify and had its own Rio Grande Motor Freight Co. One of the drivers sits here with his white ceramic mug as a waitress clears the dishes. The murals in Mama D’s are realistic enough that you can almost hear the clink of spoons against coffee cups.
A local cowboy with a broad-brimmed sombrero and a hand-rolled cigarette dangling from his lips, turns and faces the young ladies at the lunchroom counter.
The streetside entrance of Mama D’s Deli in Salida, just a block and half from the Arkansas River, gives no hint of the 1940s murals that have been on display in the restaurant for 70 years. The building has always housed a restaurant.
A well-dressed man, possibly a forest ranger, sits beside a Colorado state highway patrolmen clearly enjoying his soup.
A teenager contemplates eating a burger in one bite. Beside him a man, clearly enjoying his food, has a mouth open large enough to see his tonsils.
A regular patron of Neil’s Café is about to bite into her hot dog. Now known as Mama D’s Deli, the restaurant specializes in chili dogs and Chicago dogs.

The murals at Mama D’s: In Salida, wall art tells story of an era

Perhaps the most beloved mural at Mama’s Deli in Salida features a “wolf” on the prowl for girls. The mural is vintage 1940s American popular culture. The artist, Bill Blake, modeled his caricatures after local residents, and Mae Prunty, one of the diner’s owners, claimed to have known every one of the artist’s models.
In a far corner of Mama D’s Deli, the artist Bill Blake, who had been arrested for stealing cars, painted a self-portrait in 1945. No one in Salida knows what happened to him when he quit doing odd jobs and left the café.
Salida began as a train town, and Neil’s Café, which preceded Mama D’s, had a contract with the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad to serve trainmen 24 hours a day. In this mural, a conductor and brakeman synchronize their pocket watches with a railroad engineer in his denim overalls.
Mike Baker, left, and Jim Quinn are Mama D’s owners and cooks. They are dedicated local Salida businessmen who enjoy watching new customers come in and view the 1940s murals for the first time. The two owners have promised to protect the murals.
The railroads would eventually lose freight business to interstate highways and 18-wheeled trucks. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad tried to diversify and had its own Rio Grande Motor Freight Co. One of the drivers sits here with his white ceramic mug as a waitress clears the dishes. The murals in Mama D’s are realistic enough that you can almost hear the clink of spoons against coffee cups.
A local cowboy with a broad-brimmed sombrero and a hand-rolled cigarette dangling from his lips, turns and faces the young ladies at the lunchroom counter.
The streetside entrance of Mama D’s Deli in Salida, just a block and half from the Arkansas River, gives no hint of the 1940s murals that have been on display in the restaurant for 70 years. The building has always housed a restaurant.
A well-dressed man, possibly a forest ranger, sits beside a Colorado state highway patrolmen clearly enjoying his soup.
A teenager contemplates eating a burger in one bite. Beside him a man, clearly enjoying his food, has a mouth open large enough to see his tonsils.
A regular patron of Neil’s Café is about to bite into her hot dog. Now known as Mama D’s Deli, the restaurant specializes in chili dogs and Chicago dogs.
Reader Comments
click here to add your event
Area Events