A landscape company is bringing LOVE back to the city of Manassas, Virginia. “LOVE,” in this case, is in the form of a landmark sign that was recently destroyed in a severe thunderstorm. A story reported by WDVM-TV explains how the sign is being restored thanks to the generosity of a local landscape contractor.
“The railing collapsed, and the letters crashed to the ground and broke,” Mark Thomas Olsen, owner of Olde Towne Landscaping in Manassas told the station’s reporter. “The letters are kind of a fixture in the community and to see them right after they broke was kind of devastating, because it had been through derechos (long lasting, damaging windstorms), blizzards, other thunderstorms, hurricanes…and it never had a problem.”
The sign’s origin story goes back to 2012, when Virginia Tourism tasked the City of Manassas with creating its own LOVE sign in keeping with the state’s tourism motto “Virginia is for Lovers.” Olsen was part of that project. Soon, the sign that started out as a six-month pilot project became a beloved city staple.
This isn’t the first time Olsen has restored the sign. He also donated the last two sets of LOVE letters when they were damaged — this makes it the third. The letters are made of exterior grade plywood and are repainted every couple of years. The letters destroyed in the recent thunderstorm couldn’t be saved, but the original set is on display at the Manassas Museum.