PLYMOUTH - A crowd of proud residents gathered around the Plymouth History Mural Tuesday, as it was officially dedicated by the Beautification Committee and town officials.
Jerry Milne, of the Plymouth Historical Society and the Beautification Committee, thanked all that made it possible. He thanked Thomaston Savings Bank, who provided the materials, the volunteers, who put in the work to create it, Lee Hardware owner, Jeff Peterson, for allowing the display and others.
“It has turned out better than my wildest dreams - the detail is mind-boggling,” said Milne. “I first had the idea in 2017, knowing that our 225th anniversary was coming up. You have to plan ahead for these sort of things to get the grants and permissions and everyone to cooperate.”
Milne said that freedom is a theme in the mural, with the local churches depicted representing “people who came from all over the world for religious freedom and a better life.” The mural also depicts the historic Henry K. Terry house, a stop along the Underground Railroad.
Another theme present in the mural is “kindness,” represented by the Leatherman.
“He walked this big circle and stopped in local caves to sleep,” Milne said. “He didn’t speak to anyone and he wore a big leather coat. He was probably mentally ill. But, people left food out for him all the time.”
Another theme was innovation, represented by clockmaker Eli Terry.
“He started the American Industrial Revolution right in our own backyard with his ideas about interchangeable parts,” said Milne.
Famous people from Terryville throughout history are also depicted. The famous faces you will find are that of actor Ted Knight, fashion designer Betsey Johnson, air balloonist Silas Brooks who traveled with the P.T. Barnum Circus, Dorence Atwater, a union soldier in the Civil War that was captured and sent to the Andersonville prisoner of war camp and Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, who assisted Atwater and visited Plymouth to celebrate the town’s centennial.
The mural also depicts the town’s many waterfalls and some of its wildlife, including bears, moose and bobcats. The skyline shifts from day to night and the trees throughout the mural depict the seasons.
Gale Reno, one of the artists involved, said that she painted the town’s water wheel and the waterfalls.
“It all came together so well and it really tells a story,” she said. “Jerry Milne is amazing and he knows so much about our history. I recently visited a pharmacist in Bristol and I heard them talking about how much they loved it.”
Mayor David Merchant said that the mural is “amazing.”
“This is unbelievable,” said Merchant. “I drove by every day and watched people painting up on the scaffolds.”
Milne said that those who wish to learn more about what is depicted on the mural can now pick up a guide at Lee Hardware. You can also visit the Plymouth Historical Society website, plymouthhistoricalsociety.org, or the town website, plymouthct.us, and click on “interesting places” on the visitors section at the bottom of the page.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.