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What's in a name? Just the mountains

"Photo: Hal and Julane Mirka, left, restored Langley's mountain view sign with help from Anna Primavera, right. At far left two tourists enjoy the view of the real mountains. Jim Larsen / staff photoFor many years a simple sign in Langley has demonstrated that a project doesn't have to be big, expensive or gaudy to satisfy tourists and townsfolk alike.This sign doesn't point out sales downtown or give driving instructions. Instead, it's a simple painting of the Cascade Mountains visible in all their glory from Cascade Avenue, overlooking the Small Boat Harbor and Puget Sound.The mountain view not only pictures the peaks, but also labels their names so people enjoying the view know what they're looking at. Unfortunately, the original painting by Gwen Purdy had faded over the years and there was water damage. Clearly, if something wasn't done it could have been lost.In stepped Sandy Wainwright, a downtown merchant, who organized a modest rescue effort. She recruited Hal and Julane Mirka and Anna Primavera and before long the rescue was complete.Hal used his woodworking skills to build a new frame, and even a shingle roof to protect the sign. Julane carefully retouched the painting to make the Cascades as sharp as ever. And Primavera, one of the city's long-time residents, helped cover some of the material costs for the all-volunteer effort.On Wednesday, the trio assembled to place the sign back in the ground. The real mountains were visible and tourists quickly assembled around the sign to find out what they were looking at. The peaks are now clearly named: Whitehourse, Bullon, Jumbo, Three Fingers, Big Bear, Helena, Liberty, Long, Glacier and Pilchuck.There's something about knowing the name of what you're looking at that makes the experience more satisfying. Thanks to the restored sign, that experience will continue to live in Langley."

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