By Win Grundmeier
Ann Christenson, the former coordinator for the Good Thunder Development Corporation, spearheaded the mural project on the 75-foot grain elevator. It has become a focal point for the town known as “A Village for the Arts.” The many gallons of paint were free, but the Good Thunder Corporation had to raise about $14,000 to pay St. Paul muralist Ta-Coumba Aiken, rent a lift machine plus other expenses. The community received a grant from the Region 9 Arts Council for the project.
The colorful montage featuring Chief Good Thunder, for whom the town is named, and other local people and interests has drawn attention nationwide over the years since 1987. Washed by rains and swept by prairie winds, the murals on corrugated metal have required no maintenance. The murals represent the town and area’s history. There were actually two Indians called Good Thunder that settled in this area in the 1800s. One was a Dakota who lived hear the Lower Sioux Agency in Brown County, and one a Winnebago who led his tribe when they were on a reservation in Blue Earth County.
Other murals on the elevator feature businesses that have been in Good Thunder at one time or other, as well as farming images at different periods of time. Also included are images of children playing in the snow and of the railroad depot that used to be in town. There is an image showing children at a computer. The image shows corn growing out of the screen. The idea is to show how children are learning modern ways to do what their ancestors have done. Instead of children learning things in college and doing something totally different outside the area, Aiken wanted to show that they can bring things back to the town to help it grow.