Mural Finished

John KnowltonMuseum & Community
Loses Great Friend

John A. Knowlton, Sr.
peacefully in his sleep
April 12, 
with his loving wife by his side.
Read Full Obituary - Click Here

We are often asked about the magnificent Western themed mural on the Museum's South exterior wall. The Mural was a concept of renowned muralist and friend, John Knowlton. John, his wife, Mary, our Festival Founder and artist, Kerry Powell and local artists, Patti Doolittle, Marylyn Hayden, Marian Seiter, and Kathy Sexton brought their incredible creativity and talents to the Museum under John's direction to create this beautiful mural. We thank you. The story of the Mural and images of the individual artist's panels are below.

John Knowlton Mural: A History of Movies, Art, and Lone Pine

An antique camera car slowly pulls a piece of movie film out of the rocky terrain of the Alabama Hills in Lone Pine. As the film unfurls frame by frame, the viewer sees one scene after another from the classic films that have been made in Inyo County over the last ninety years.

Mural renderingStarting back in 2005, renowned muralist John Knowlton of Bakersfield, CA, began creating an image in his mind that would forever mark the Museum of Western Film History’s south wall as a visual history of the many films made throughout the area. The mural stretches across most of the 100 foot wall and stands at nearly nine feet tall. This magnificent artwork features actual scenes from major productions made in the area. The individual scenes, which focus on the cinematic interpretations of the local western landscape, were created by a number of local artists as their contribution to the museum.

Working with the design that Knowlton originally created circa 2006 a final Mural design was developed by John and Kerry Powell (Founder of the Lone Pine FIlm Festival) that shows the Alabama Hills on the left which have been the filming site for countless ads, commercials and feature films since 1920. A large piece of film unrolls mysteriously from the dark depths of the rocks and curls across the mural, and is pulled by a camera car similar to those used in the area during the 1930's. John Knowlton's design for the car is based on actual stills of camera cars used in the area during that time. As the film unwinds, scenes from various major productions come alive through each artist’s interpretation. Each artist had an assortment of films to choose from including famous westerns starring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Tom Mix, and John Wayne to feature films such as Gunga Din and Tremors. Chris Langley, the Museum of Western Film History’s Historian as well as the Film Commissioner for Inyo County, stated back in 2006 regarding the initial idea of the mural,Mural Phase1

"We think the mural, seen from the south, will announce to travelers unfamiliar with the museum exactly what the museum is about without any words at all. It will stimulate their curiosity. We want local artists to have their work represented in the different frames of the mural. When you combine it with the neon signs announcing 'Film Museum' down both sides of the tower, the illuminated movie marquee with chase lights, and the six neon lit poster bays, it will be eye-catching both during the day and at night. The mural will be illuminated at night as well. We think this will serve the purposes of the Museum well. It will also present a wonderful community experience. We think people will come by to watch, as well as help, and the mural will be a kind of legacy for individuals in our community of Lone Pine at this time."

John Knowlton is a well known mural society member in Bishop, Ca, having created six of the ten murals in town. He also created the mural on the Lone Pine McDonalds, which is a combination of historic local ranching and the film history that has shaped the growth of the town for eighty-five years. John has a long history with the American West about which he writes; "The American West was long considered a blank slate, a land of opportunity where cowboys could fulfill their dreams." This is the place where John Knowlton fulfilled his dreams. He is recognized for traditional westerns, plein air paintings in oils and historical murals on local walls. He spent thirty years in the livestock business after graduating from U.C. Davis and studied art as well at the California Art Institute. He has won several awards including "Cattlemen Western Artist of the Year" and C.M. Russell Quick Draw Artist. He has been published in several art magazines and his studio is located in Bakersfield, Ca. 

Thank you to John and all the Artists, see below panels, for your contribution to the Museum.


The Round-Up

Mary Gipson Knowlton, Artist


Annie Oakley

Patti Doolittle, Artist


Tom Mix

Patti Doolittle, Artist



How the West Was Won

Kathy Sexton, Artist  

Mural Round Up   Mural Annie Oakley   Mural Tom Mix   Mural How the West Was Won

John Wayne

Marylin Hayden, Artist


Gunga Din

Kathy Sexton, Artist


Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, 
Peggy Stewart & Gene Autry

Kerry Powell, Artist



Marian Seiter, Artist

Mural John Wayne   Mural Gunga Din   Mural Roy Rogers   Mural Tremors

Camera Truck

John Knowlton, Artist

Mural Camera Truck