Smithville – There has been a resurgence of nostalgia and growth on the square in Smithville as of late. That is both by design and intrinsically.

Over the past year, five businesses have opened, including Legacy Haus, Purple Door Antiques, Creation Station; Ace’s Steak, Seafood, and Italian and Cheryl’s Beau Bees. Along with the new kids on the block, businesses like The Male Room Brotique, Button Willow coffee, The Vintage Owl and others have been mainstays for years.

Together, the business community and Tony Luna, of Lake Homes Realty and the Male Room Brotique, has worked hard utilizing and revitalizing the downtown area. It has become retro chic with countless small town, southern charms.

Revitalization continues on Sat. Nov. 19 at 10 a.m. when the walkway in the middle of it all, Walnut Alley, officially becomes John Anderson Alley.

Mural on the wall of the new John Anderson Alley

Country music legend John Anderson and his wife, along with their five children, have lived in Smithville for over 30 years, and, at one time, owned a downtown building attached to the alley that now features his name. Anderson is an award winning artist including the CMA Horizon Award and Single of the Year for his song “Swingin’’.

In 1993 the Academy of Country Music awarded him the Career Achievement Award. He has had over 40 singles on the Billboard Country music charts and has been nominated for CMA awards male vocalist of the year, song of the year and album of the year. At 15 years old Anderson joined a rock band, but it wasn’t long before he was drawn to country music.

Two years later he moved to Nashville, recorded his first single “I’ve Got a Feeling (somebody’s been stealin’)”, and the rest is history.

“I couldn’t believe our community didn’t already have something commemorating John’s local connections,” says Luna. “I remembered seeing John as a kid around our family’s marina, and he was always so friendly and down to Earth. So, I took the idea to our City Mayor, Josh Miller.”

Miller and the Smithville City Council agreed. Luna, and his wife Sommer, immediately had a mural commissioned for the alleyway.

“We felt it was good recognition for John and a way to show him we appreciate what he does for Smithville,” said Miller. “I was amazed at the mural they had done, it’s a beautiful tribute to John.”

DeKalb County government officials and officials from the Smithville Chamber of Commerce will hold the dedication and “would love to invite and encourage the public to attend”. Anderson and his family will be in attendance.

Entry is free and the public is invited to show support and respect for this “giant in the country music industry”. Anderson plans to put on a free concert for Downtown Smithville in the summer of 2023.

Photos provided by Tony Luna.

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