When members of the Eintracht Club take the stairs to their dance hall, they are reminded of where they came from — and what their club has meant to generations of families.

Ken Cole, a local muralist, and Hans Kraus, who is president of the club, teamed up to turn a greenish hallway into a tribute to the club’s mix of German and Romanian cultures.

 “I had an idea for a mural because I saw that in other places. I saw murals, not specifically going up the stairwell like this, but along the walls. ... I said, ‘Why can’t we do that going up the stairs?’" Kraus said.

The scene they chose was downtown Transylvania, the birthplace of Count Dracula, which they said combined their Romanian and German roots.

"The actual photo is the town, the center part of the town," Kraus said.

The club president said he contacted Cole because of his expertise with murals.

“I got ahold of Ken because I saw what he did behind the sanitation building. I knew other murals he had done before. So, we brought him in and asked him what he thought.”

The project took a while to develop, Cole said.

The mural is a tribute to his parents, the club and the rich heritage of the group, he said.

He and other members have memories of their own days at the Eintracht Club.

"I kind of grew up here, as Hans did," Cole said. "There was the picnic grounds down by the river. Every weekend we were down there. It was just a wholesome place. The guys would play in the river. It was a communal thing, there were no electronics. It was just people living with nature."

There was an aura in the club, he said, one that he still remembers today.

“The club culture at the time was about peace," Cole said. "It was about people doing the best they can, being happy. The beauty of the area — the mountains and the castles — was quite an inspiration there.”

Kraus couldn’t be more pleased with how Cole captured the spirit of the culture.

“He was able to do it,” he said. “He blended the German culture along with the Romanian culture, which is what this club is all about.”

Cole said the mural is special to him.

“There is a dedication written on the walls up there to the club itself just to thank them for being here and their code of ethics,” he said.

Kraus echoed Cole’s feelings on how special the mural is not just to him, but to other club members.

“Everybody really loves it,” Kraus said. “They are amazed by the mural, and what it is all about. Walking up there, with the clock tower, it kind of reminds them what this club is all about."

Cole worked on the mural, on and off, for several months, mainly when the club was closed or in the morning when the lighting was better.

“I just wanted to create a peaceful, enlightening environment for before you go into the dance hall to set the idea this is tradition,” he said. “It is chipping away from modern America that this is where it all came from. These were immigrants. They were looking for a better life. We can’t lose sight of that.”

baddleman@ncnewsonline.com

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