PLYMOUTH - The history mural on the side of Leeâ€™s Hardware is 99% complete, according to Jerry Milne of the Plymouth Historical Society.
Milne said that this week, the volunteer painters will be doing the last finishing touches and then putting on a protective coating.
â€śWeâ€™re planning to have a dedication ceremony in mid-August,â€ť he said.
The owner of Leeâ€™s Hardware, Jeff Peterson, said that the mural looks â€śterrific.â€ť He said that a lot of people are excited about it.
â€śWeâ€™re glad to have it here,â€ť he said. â€śThere are a lot of people coming in and asking questions about it. We will eventually be getting a brochure that people can pick up to understand some of the history depicted. There is a tremendous amount of history on that mural. The artists who created it are all volunteers - local art teachers, students, all very talented people.â€ť
The mural painting began in June. The initiative, which was intended to raise awareness of the townâ€™s 225th anniversary in 2020, was sponsored by members of the Plymouth Beautification Committee.
Supplies were provided by funding from the Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation. Local art teachers including Gina Ritche, of Terryville High School and Diane Boylan, of Plymouth Center School, as well as students who had been part of their classes, did the painting.
Milne educated the artists about different historical topics that were included in the mural.
People featured on the mural include clockmaker Eli Terry, with gears emanating from his head to represent his ideas for mass production, Silas Brooks, a famous local air balloonist from the mid-1800s who was featured in the P.T. Barnum circus and had almost 200 liftoffs around the country, and Dorence Atwater, a Plymouth soldier who fought in the Civil War and was taken to the prisoner of war camp at Andersonville, Ga.
â€śThirteen-thousand soldiers died due to the conditions there,â€ť said Milne. â€śAfter the war, Dorence Atwater went out of his way to make a list of the men who died. He teamed up with the social worker Clara Barton to contact the family members after the war. This was the first time that an effort had been made to find those missing in action and report it to their loved ones. He also helped to establish the national cemetery in Andersonville.â€ť
Geographic features included in the mural include the Terryville Tunnel, the longest tunnel in Connecticut, and the townâ€™s numerous waterfalls.
Also featured in the mural are the North Star and the Big Dipper constellation, which escaping slaves used to help navigate along the Underground Railroad. A local home was an important stop along the railroad.
Depicted also are horses and wagons using the old toll road on Main Street, the Lock Museum of America and Ives Trains model trains, which were popular in the late 1800s before the company was bought out by Lionel.
â€śTheir slogan was Ives Toys Makes Happy Boys,â€ť said Milne.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.