"Spirit Of Celina" Lives On In The New Home Of Texas Homes And Land Real Estate

Article by Sharla Davenport

Photography by Holly Farrow

Originally published in Celina Lifestyle

Isn’t it exciting to uncover a piece of history, especially with a unique story behind it? That’s what happened to Coryann Johnson, owner of Texas Homes and Land Real Estate, earlier this summer in downtown Celina.

First, flashback to 1976 when America celebrated its Bicentennial. Celina was also celebrating its establishment as a settlement in 1876, thereby making 1976 Celina’s Centennial (source: City of Celina).  Patriotism was high with celebratory memorabilia everywhere. 

Forty-six years later, Celina is booming with many new buildings and a faint memory of 1976.  That is, until Coryann Johnson bought a building downtown for her real estate business.

When Coryann searched for an office, she knew she wanted something on The Square. She had many childhood memories here like eating at the Bobcat Café (now a BBQ restaurant) or “hanging out on The Square” with her Celina cousins and her future husband, Jeff. She also remembers time spent at the Cotton Gin once owned by her grandfather.

As a result, she purchased the old Stone Building (Dan Stone Insurance) on the northeast corner downtown and immediately began renovation. One day, her brother, Clay Thomas, was working in the attic and discovered a patriotic mural painted on the wall from 1976. It included the words “Cheerleaders ‘76” and a list of names: Barbara Glendenning, Kim Peterman, Brenda Vest, Lynnette Vest, Laurie Huddleston, and Valerie Morris. 

Coryann knew they had uncovered a piece of Celina history.  She remembered everyone’s names on the mural and reached out to some of them asking about the painting.  It was determined the cheerleaders were from Celina High School (CHS) many from the Class of 1977.  Coryann talked to Barbara Glendenning from the painting who then contacted her classmates. Glendenning and Kim Peterman recalled how the mural originated.

Glendenning noted the cheerleaders would paint local business windows for Friday football games (now a Homecoming tradition). Because of this, the Celina Masonic Lodge asked the cheerleaders to paint a mural honoring the historic anniversaries of 1976. 

Glendenning said, “The Lodge paid for the paint and Kim did most of the drawing. The art was inspired by a book about Celina authored by Barbara Johnson.”  Glendenning remembers that some cheerleaders help draw, but everyone painted based on the book cover art.”  

She reminisces the mural represented “the spirit of the country and the spirit of Celina at that time.” Glendenning guarantees she and her classmates will discuss the mural at their forty-fifth high school reunion this October.

Coryann Johnson wanted to keep the mural, but the building needed too many structural improvements. There was “no way to keep it,” she states. “I have talked to about half of the ladies on the mural and heard their stories. We took pictures and will display them in the office,” she continued. 

Coryann has fond memories of Celina and was thrilled to find a piece of the town’s history. She expects to open her new office in early 2023 and hopes people will stop and say hello. You can visit Coryann about real estate, but also about the mural, the memories, traditions, and the true “Spirit of Celina”.

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