By Anne Eickstadt


The Bride of Frankenstein was unveiled on Monday, Sept. 22, 2008, and presented to the City of Belvidere.

Not long ago, a citizen of Belvidere asked me what I knew about a mural of the “Bride of Frankenstein” that she had helped paint about a dozen years ago. I promptly began reaching out to my contacts at the Boone County Arts Council and was able to reach Jay Robert Allen.

The “Bride of Frankenstein” mural was a fundraising project initiated by the short-lived Mural Mile Association. The Mural Mile Association was an initiative of Mayor Fred Brereton and he tried to get city council to fund it with $50,000 a year and the council told him “no.” 

Kim Ellingson, the mayor’s assistant for neighborhood development and special events for Belvidere, oversaw 

projects for the association.

For several years, the association paid for flowers to beautify the city, allocated funds for mural maintenance and supported the arts, fostering community pride and helping Belvidere form an identity which drew visitors and improved the economy. When its leadership chose to call it quits, the Boone County Arts Council assumed control of what was left of the Mural Mile Association and its finances.

“We’ve done well with it,” said Allen. “Largely due to Mayor Brereton’s promise of a matching grant up to $5K per year.” 

Brereton served as mayor of Belvidere from 1996 to 2012. When Mike Chamberlain became mayor in 2012, he chose to honor that promise and continue funding the murals for Belvidere.

The “Bride of Frankenstein” was chosen as the subject for the mural because William Hurlbut, native of Belvidere, wrote the screenplay for the 1935 movie. The mural was painted by several residents who attended a fundraiser at the Community Building Complex, where they could purchase a paintbrush and paint a segment of the mural. It was completed in Allen’s studio. 

It was unveiled on Monday, Sept. 22, 2008, and presented to the city. (Within a week, Belvidere was honored as an Arts Friendly Community at the Illinois Municipal League’s annual conference in Chicago.)

After the association was disbanded, the mural was still being stored in a building owned by Ed Marx, who had been on the Mural Mile Association board of directors. When Marx sold the building, including contents, the mural was unintentionally included. The building’s new owner found the mural and sold it.

The “Bride of Frankenstein” was the sequel to “Frankenstein” and filming began shortly after the premiere of the first film. Creative personnel from the original returned in front of and behind the camera. “Bride of Frankenstein” was released to critical and popular acclaim, even though it encountered difficulties with some state and national censorship boards. 

“Since its release, the film’s reputation has grown, and it is now considered one of the greatest sequels ever made; many fans and critics consider it to be an improvement on the original. In 1998, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, having been deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”                  Wikipedia

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