34th Street Wall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The 34th Street Wall is a 1,120-foot-long retaining wall along SW 34th Street in Gainesville, Florida. The wall, which dates back to 1979, was originally built to prevent erosion of a hill on the nearby University of Florida golf course when 34th Street was widened from two lanes to four.

The wall itself is most notable for being covered with layers of graffiti up to as many as 250 layers of paint [1] thick in some areas. Messages painted on the wall have included marriage proposals, birthday wishes, graduation announcements, celebration of athletic victories, public awareness, promotion, and tributes. In 2006, Musician and Gainesville native Tom Petty returned to the city for a concert and he was welcomed with a message painted on the wall. Petty was presented with a photo of this section of the wall along with the Gainesville key to the city during the visit.[2] [1] Although most of the graffiti on the wall is done by students at the university and members of the community, there is occasionally "tagging" and professional graffiti.

The wall in April 2009

Although technically illegal, neither the Alachua County Sheriff's Office nor the Gainesville Police Department have charged anyone with criminal mischief for painting on the wall. In the past, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to prevent graffiti on the wall, including painting the wall white and the use of graffiti resistant coating, but in more recent years, the wall has been accepted as a Gainesville landmark and is considered a "community bulletin board".[3] When the city last resurfaced 34th Street and widened the bicycle lanes, this originally required removing part of the wall. Instead, officials opted to narrow the road median, leaving the wall intact. Sadie Darnell of the Gainesville Police Department and later the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, maintained the wall, including ensuring the Danny Rolling victims memorial was intact until 2000, when the UF Interfraternity Council took over. In addition, waste containers are provided to allow for proper disposal of used paint supplies.

Memorials[edit]

The Rolling victim memorial in May 2009

One of the more notable sections on the wall is a tribute to the victims of the Danny Rolling murders. The memorial lists the names of the five students who were killed, and was first painted in 1990 using black, red, and white paint by Adam Byrn Tritt. Although it has been painted over several times, it has been regularly re-painted and touched up. Other memorials have come and gone over the years, however the Rolling victim memorial is the only one that is continually maintained. The memorial just went through its 20 year anniversary, during which a plaque was placed below the graffiti memorial reading "In Memory Of:" following the victims of the Danny Rolling murders. During this anniversary, wall repainter Nick Turner painted a large sign below the plaque exclaiming to "Not Paint Here: Memorial." Ever since the painting of the memorial, locals to Gainesville have respected and treated it as a permanent addition to the graffiti wall; but occasionally, it will be defaced. For 8 years, Turner has been repainting the wall to its original memorial each time.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Messages on the Wall - A site maintained by the University of Florida Digital Libraries cataloging many of the messages painted on the wall

Coordinates: 29°38′52″N 82°22′20″W / 29.6477°N 82.3722°W / 29.6477; -82.3722