Piece by piece; Love mural continues to spread message of peace and unity around Elkhart

ELKHART, Ind. -- Kelby Love’s mural went up in 1996 as a direct response to a spree of deadly shootings across his beloved city.

Its message of peace and unity has proved itself timeless through the years, however the building behind it has not.

Saturday, folks had a chance to come out and grab a piece of the world-renowned Elkhart native’s legacy this afternoon.

"The number of people that have come by to pick up bricks tells you what it's meant to the community for all these years,” said Mayor Rod Roberson, a childhood friend of Love.

Love passed away in 2018 and the mural was his last remaining gift to the city.

Now that it’s been demolished brick by brick, its message of peace and unity can now be found all across the city.

Pallets of its remaining pieces painted by love and local students available for pick up this afternoon at the corner of Redding and Second Street, so that anyone who wanted one could take home their own piece of history.

Folks coming out, each with their own memories of the masterpiece.

"Being an Elkhart resident, I definitely wanted to have some history. I do have a baby on the way so this will be one of the first gifts I can give him to recognize Elkhart's history,” said one Elkhart native.

Though they are sad to see it go, city officials said they were unable to save the century old wall.

They took advice from structural engineers as they redevelop the area while working with Love’s mother Glenda to keep her son’s message alive.

"Any mother would've been happy to have him as a son, I know that,” said Love’s mother Glenda.

She was given his signature before the wall came down back in March. Now she’s sharing the rest with the community, as they shared stories of the hometown hero with her.

"And as long as that brick wall stood there and represented that, they honored it. The people in the community honored it, and they admired it, and once they found out it was going to be destroyed, now they want to come get a piece of that history, and I'm overwhelmed with that,” said Glenda Love.

They said Kelby’s Legacy and the mural’s message will continue to spread love in the future of Elkhart even if its original canvas will not.

The hope for the future is that a recreation will go back up on the mixed us development that does up on the corner.

Mayor Roberson says this is a true testament to Love’s work.

"The way the RFP is written, we'll be able to make sure the developer definitely understands the significance of what that spot was, and what it can be for the future,” said Mayor Roberson.

There are still bricks left. The city is working to schedule a possible additional pick-up date.

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