The Downtown Mural Project was officially completed on Friday, October 7 as residents of Milford gathered to see the beautiful paintings during a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event. Through the partnership of the Milford Museum, the Mispillion Art League and the City of Milford the project that started in 2008 now stands beautifully downtown as it depicts six historical paintings. Located on the side of the Salvation Army Building, on South East Front Street, the murals remind all who pass of the rich history of Milford and the ever-changing life of its citizens.
“Just look at the talent we have here in Milford,” commented Mayor Ronnie Rogers. “I am proud of Milfordians for pushing forward on beautiful projects such as this.”
Sara Gallagher, public arts advocate for the Mispillion Art League, was approached in 2008 by Dave Kenton with the idea of the downtown mural. To reflect the history of Milford as accurately as possible, Sara and local artist Bruce Aden began to make sketches from old photographs of various locations around town. The basic sketches were made into compositions, adding cars, people and trees and enlarged to a scale that would be appropriate for the mural.
“The vision of the Mispillion Art League is to provide a quality visual arts program to this community and I felt this is a project we should undertake,” comment Ms. Gallagher.
In June of 2008 the first mural started was the Launching of the George May. Sara Gallagher and Diane Deeney were the main artists to take charge on this painting with help from Dottie Vuono, Michael Sollazzo, Colby Herd Sharon Hepford and Pat LaManna. Also in that year the Old Red Mill and Silver Lake mural was started and completed.
In 2009 The Pea Crop Wagons was painted by Sara Gallagher and Diane Deeney with help from several local artists including Pat LaManna who joined the two women daily on this project. Also that year The Railroad Depot, circa 1915 was started by Bruce Allen. In 2010 the murals ofThe Nixon Theatre and The Old Calvary Church were started and completed one year later. All together 17 artists and 3 community volunteers painted on the downtown murals.
“This has been a challenging project,” commented Ms. Gallagher. “but we as artists of the Mispillion Art League are pleased to present this quality visual art to the community.”
All six murals are painted on the side of the Salvation Army Building on South East Front Street:
- Railroad Depot Junction and Breakwater Line (1915).This railroad operated 7 trains from 1860 – 1945.
- The Pea Crop Waiting Their Turn (1906). A farmer’s wagon waiting in line for cannery processing os peas at Draper Cannery circa 1870 – 1930.
- Launching George May sailing ship (1900). A four-masted 162 foot cargo sailing schooner launched from Abbott’s Shipyard.
- Old Red Mill and C.D. Caulk Manufacturing Plant (1908). The original Caulk Dental offices and manufacturing plant at Silver Lake site.
- Nixon Palace Theatre on North Walnut Street (1920). Home of the first nickelodeons and later silent movies.
- Old Cavalry Church on Franklin Street (1912). The original Methodist Church burned down in 1951 and rebuilt on the same site in 1957.