Historic Black-Owned Barber Shop With Murals Inside Discovered in Georgia


A community revitalization group discovered a forgotten black barber shop and murals in an alley in Sparta, Georgia.

Dream Streets Sparta was removing plywood from the front and back entrances of a driveway between two buildings on Broad Street when they discovered a former African American barbershop and hand-painted murals.

“The area was indeed an alleyway until around 1909 when it was closed down to become an African-American owned barbershop,” Dream Streets Sparta said in an Aug. 23 Facebook post. “Opening onto the main street of Sparta, the Barber Shop was a prime location and clientele included most of the gentlemen of very well off Sparta. Not only was the Barber Shop rediscovered, but remnants of beautiful hand-painted landscape murals were found.

Dream Streets Sparta believes the barbershop was a multi-generational business, owned and operated by a grandfather, father, and then son, Willie Warthen.

Either the grandfather or the father painted the murals, the group said. They ask the older people in the community for any additional details they remember about the find.

The current owner plans to preserve the art, according to the group. “It’s exactly the kind of detail that sets Sparta apart, and its thoughtful preservation is exactly the kind of thing tourists love to see and hear stories about,” Dream Streets Sparta said.

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