Residents Go Hog-Wild over Nokesville Barn Mural


Volunteers celebrate the completion of the barn mural. (Photo from the Nokesville Hawkin’s Barn Facebook page.)

Nokesville residents went hog-wild, last weekend, when the dancing pig, cow and duck mural painted on the Hawkins barn was completed. The mural brought the Nokesville community together and symbolizes pride in the area’s agricultural heritage.

The Hawkins barn, located next to Route 28 in Nokesville, was built by farm owner William R. Free in 1922. Passed down to Mr. Free’s son-in-law, Thomas M. Hawkins, Sr., the barn was later painted green and yellow to represent the colors of John Deer equipment. It didn’t stay that way for long.

Twenty-three years ago, Route 28 commuter and artist, Sylvia Ludwitz, heard about a mural contest on the radio. She was all in, but wasn’t sure where to paint her mural.

“I would go down this road every day and see the barn. And I was like, ‘Shoot, why don’t we do it here?’” Ludwitz said.


Girl paints duck onto the Hawkins Barn. (Photo from the Nokesville Hawkin’s Barn Facebook page.)

After receiving permission from Mr. Hawkins, Sr., Ludwitz and a group of Brentsville District High School students painted a dancing cow and pig on the side of the barn. Although the mural didn’t win the radio contest, it became a Nokesville icon over the next decade.

Time passed, and the barn paint chipped away, wearing away the mural.

In May 2012, the Hawkins Barn Restoration Committee met and discussed fundraising options for the barn’s restoration. Committee members sold t-shirts and ornaments for the cause and hosted fundraising events like a Chik-Fil-A hoedown. Despite their best efforts, the barn was demolished, rebuilt and painted green.

In 2015, current barn owner Dale Hawkins tracked down Sylvia Lindowitz and asked if she would re-paint the mural.

She joked that there was nothing that could keep her away.


Volunteers finish up last details on the barn. (Photo from the Nokesville Barn Facebook page.)

“Here I was base jumping with Richard Gere in Katmandu when news that the Nokesville Barn had been rebuilt and was without its dancing cow and pig. I immediately hopped in my dugout canoe and headed down the Trisuli River towards North America. After three months of travel, I arrived in Nokesville last night and will be starting the layout of the new mural today,” Lindowitz posted on Facebook October 5.

Many community residents helped out, including members of Friends Uniting Nokesville. A few helped with the painting, but many offered support and encouragement. Among the supporters was Arlington resident and Art Director of the National Wildlife Federation Cindy Olson.

Photo of Hawkins Barn with the previous mural.

Photo of Hawkins Barn with the previous mural.

“The Nokesville community is so excited about the mural- it was wonderful to see all the honking and waving form the cars on the road below. Truth be told… I found that [I] excel at waving- perhaps even more than painting,” Olson wrote on Facebook.

The mural was finished on October 10, 2015. The Brentsville District High School band came out to celebrate and played for community residents and supporters.

In the days that followed, residents and commuters smiled as they drove past the barn.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

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