The city of Dayton has become a great place to do a little stargazing.
Nearly 100 large concrete stars are now adorning properties all over the city, many with custom painting, and more orders are still coming in, according to Caroline Wadzeck with the Dayton Historical Society.
At last count, the historical society had sold 98 stars to local businesses and homeowners. Wadzeck hopes to see another 100 purchased in the coming months. She has plans to create a driving tour brochure that maps out the locations and details of every star.
“In the next 6-8 months, I hope to get the brochure ready,” Wadzeck said. “We are hoping to have more businesses on Highway 90 participate. We have some franchises that I would like to participate, but it’s hard to find the right person to talk to. I am working on it though and I think they will be receptive. The stars aren’t expensive and they support the community.”
The stars sell for $300 each with custom painting adding another $125 to $200 to the cost. The painting costs vary depending on the customer’s desires to have one or both sides of the star painted.
“All I did for my star was paint it white with the name Dayton on the front. Several people have put their addresses on them,” she said.
Driving around the city to look at the stars, a patriotic theme seems to be the favorite with stars adorned with the colors and designs of American and Texas flags. Some have bluebonnets or pastoral settings, while others have a more personal meaning.
“The one outside of Fordland Estates has a tree on it. It’s a replica of a painting by M.W. Ford, the father of Dayton ISD Superintendent Dr. Jessica Johnson. Mr. Ford painted the oak tree that was in their front yard when Jessica was growing up,” Wadzeck said.
The stars are ordered from a craftsman in Lufkin in batches of up to 12. When they are ready for pick-up, Dayton Historical Society member David Parker travels to Lufkin to transport the stars to Dayton.
“The Parkers absorb the cost of transporting the stars. Without them, we wouldn’t make a penny on this project,” Wadzeck said. “It takes them a full day to pick up the stars and drive back, and then deliver them to the homes and businesses that ordered them.”
When asked if she has a favorite star, Wadzeck couldn’t name one specifically, though she is fond of the American flag star at the home of Alan D. and Mary Ellen Conner. She said people are starting to “think outside of the box” when it comes to choosing their designs.
The stars project was inspired by Liberty’s “Liberty Bells,” Jacksonville’s concrete tomatoes, Seabrook’s concrete pelicans and Rusk’s concrete cabooses, according to Wadzeck.
Anyone interested in purchasing a star should contact Wadzeck by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 936-402-3797.
Vanesa Brashier, email@example.com