The Hallowell Mural
89 Water Street, Hallowell, Maine
– Four years to design and paint ⋅ 700 square feet of canvas –
The Hallowell Mural is my tribute to my beloved home town. Almost five years ago, the mural started out as a small spark, the idea of a history mural of the region. As the project grew wings it evolved into so much more. Hallowell is a special little city on our historic Kennebec River. I wanted to capture the spirit of our community and tell a portion of its unique story.
Founded in 1762 and named for Benjamin Hallowell, the city has a fascinating history.
The man and woman pushing their boat ashore—in the lower left of the mural—are Deacon Pease Clark and his intrepid wife, who were the first European settlers to the then wild woods along the Kennebec River. Although there was a small Native American village a mile north, this bend in the river, later called The Hook, was raw wooded land. In their late fifties, the Clarks were not young adventurers, starting out in life, when they began hacking out a life from the forest. Such strength of spirit they must have had.
In the top center of the mural are two more people of note.
Martha Ballard was a midwife and healer in early Hallowell (February 9, 1735 – June 9, 1812). She was the midwife for two thousand births in the region. Amazing when you think the entire population at the time was not much more than that. Here I show her delivering a new child. The model for one of the women assisting is Alice Buck, a direct descendent of Martha Ballard.
To the left of Martha Ballard is Benjamin Vaughan, (19 April 1751 – 8 December 1835) an early settler from England of some prominence. Here he is shown writing to new President Jefferson, one of his many friends among our founding fathers. Among other things he brought with him was his extensive library which rivalled Harvard’s in the number of volumes.
Over the next weeks I will build out a detailed guide about all the folks in the mural—the historic founders, movers and shakers, the mill workers, stone carvers, musicians, actors and artists. Hallowell has so many wonderful people I couldn’t tell everyone’s story here, but I hope the handful I could weave onto this wall let you see what a remarkable place this bend in the river is. Check back when you get a chance.
Also, for those who are curious I will tell a bit of the evolution from scribbled sketches through color studies and painting, to the final installation using an aerial lift to apply the mural to the brick wall.
Thank you to all who contributed to make this mural possible.