Artist stops to sketch city#039;s history

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2003

The sounds of birds chirping could be heard amid the rumbling of automobiles passing along Commerce Street, while pedestrians scurried like ants down the sidewalks bordered by quaint stores.

Nestled under a shade tree with a notepad and pencil, Hannah M.G. Shapero sat sketching a piece of Greenville's rich history.

The 50nyearnold Virginia native, and accomplished artist, felt right at home.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;I'm taking a trip through the South, through a lot of different states, looking at beautiful buildings and drawing them,&uot; Shapero said. &uot;My birthday was June 25 and this is kind of like my birthday vacation. Greenville's got a very nice variety of buildings. It's just the right size. It's the same type of smallntown America that I'm looking for. It's very homelike.&uot;

Shapero, an architectural artist in Falls Church, Va., visited Greenville last week on her journey of architectural rediscovery. She stopped in Greenville to rest for the night on her way to Georgia. She discovered the area's rich architectural history as soon as she checked into her hotel and was handed a selfnguide tour of Greenville's Main Street district called Historic Main Street Greenville.

&uot;Greenville is where I stopped last night,&uot; Shapero said. &uot;I wanted to find a place in Alabama that was neither too large nor too small that I could find nice architecture in. Greenville was it.&uot;

Shapero spent half a day in Greenville taking several pictures of architecture including the Butler County Courthouse, which was erected in 1903. She took time out to relax under a tree and sketch a picture of the BeelandnStanley home located on the corner of South Pine and Commerce Street.

&uot;This house looked like the biggest and nicest house in town,&uot; Shapero said. &uot;My hotel people gave me a booklet that has interesting buildings in Greenville in it. It points out this one as being one of the bigger mansions in town. So I decided to draw it. I've been looking for this type of architecture all over the South.&uot;

Compared to other places Shapero has visited during her trip, she said Greenville has a wider variety of architecture. She spoke highly of the town's beauty in comparison with several tourist destinations.

&uot;I just came from New Orleans and it was just amazing,&uot; Shapero said. &uot;There's so much stuff there and so many houses. When it comes to Greenville, you've got one of each. You've got a beautiful rednbrick church, a rednbrick courthouse, you've got a stucco Catholic church, you've got some Victorian mansions and then you've got this old prenCivil War mansion. There's one of each.&uot;

Shapero has been drawing for 48 years, since she was able to grip a pencil. She was born in Boston, Mass. and grew up in the Boston area and in Rome, Italy. Her father, Harold Shapero, is a classical music composer and her mother, Esther Geller, is an artist. She currently owns Pyracantha Studios, which specializes in architectural, book, game and computernrelated illustrations and portraits.