Most everyone in Portsmouth has encountered the flood wall murals in one way or another, but the details of these popular attractions are often over-looked and their origins are a mystery.
For the next several weeks, the Daily Times will be presenting a series of stories about specific murals and their role in the community.
The murals span across the flood wall defenses, over 2,000 feet. They serve as a popular attraction for visitors and natives and are ever-changing and growing, with new additions and touch-ups being added frequently.
Located along Front Street, these murals portray the history of Portsmouth from the mound building Indians to the present day, and use a 20-foot high, 2,000 foot-long flood wall as a canvas. The project runs the length of the historic district and includes over 55 different scenes.
In 1992, the planning stages of the Flood wall Mural Project began with the formation of an ad hoc committee, which later registered as a nonprofit organization – Portsmouth Murals, Inc. (PMI). Robert Dafford, an internationally known muralist from Lafayette, Louisiana, was contracted for the project.
The first mural was completed in 1993. The murals are arranged chronologically from east to west, starting with the depiction of the Mound Builders. The series of murals serve as a visual history of the Portsmouth area.
Last week, the Daily Times touched on the 1810 house mural, based upon the real 1810 house, located at 1926 Waller Street. The house is open on Sunday afternoons, from 2-4 p.m. until December.
This week, we move on to the 1812 Era mural. This mural depicts General Robert Lucas returning from a battle during the War of 1812.
Lucas also joined the state militia, rising in the ranks to brigadier general by the time of the War of 1812.
After his military service, Lucas became involved with state politics. Prior to the War of 1812, he had served one term in the Ohio House of Representatives. In 1814, he was elected to the Ohio Senate for the first time. He served as a state senator for several terms 1814-1822, 1824-1828, and 1829-1830.
In the clouds, the likeness of Tecumseh looks down upon the removal and forced moving of his people from their native lands as settlers take over.
For an audio tour of the murals, you can dial 740-621-8031. After the introduction, each mural is a “stop.”
If you’d like to see the murals for yourself, follow the green mural signs posted in the city on Washington Street (Rt. 23 South) leading to the murals on Front Street.
Portsmouth Murals Inc., is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organizations. If you wish to contribute to the project, you can do so by mailing contributions to Portsmouth Murals Inc. at P.O. Box 207, Portsmouth, Ohio, 45662.
For more information about the murals, you can visit the Scioto County Visitors Bureau at 342 Second Street in Portsmouth.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.