Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Mural Kind Of a Town

Mural on W. Main
In the last two weeks since I wrote about the mural at Dekalb and Lafayette, nearly 200 people read that diary entry. A good percentage of them expressed their opinion on Facebook, here in the comments, or to me personally. Only 1 of those opinions was to "make the mural disappear," and when asked for an explanation, the person denied saying it in the first place. One other person said that Norristown wasn't "a mural kind of a town," but also couldn't explain what was meant by that.

I disagree. Besides the mural at Dekalb and Lafayette, and the new one on the boathouse in Riverfront Park, we have several murals around town, and no one complained about them before.

If you drive west on Main Street from Markley, just after you cross Stony Creek, look up on the side of the building to your left and you'll see the mural above, with the title "Rebirth of the Past." It depicts the Valley Forge Hotel that used to sit where the DEP building is now, on Main, near Swede.

Two more of these murals that show structures that aren't there anymore are on the Duff Building, on East Main, just past Green St, on the right.

On the left side of the door is a mural that shows the old elevated tracks for the Norristown High Speed Line, called then, the P&W (or Philadelphia and Western). The tracks originally went up Swede Street, out Markely, through East Norriton, and eventually out to Pottstown. When I was young, the terminus was on the building next to the DEP, on the corner of Main and Swede.

To the right of Duff's door is a mural showing the old Borough Hall that used to be at Dekalb and Airy Sts. It was Flemish style architecture, a really impressive-looking building. They knocked it down to build the present hall at 235 E. Airy. I suppose the police facilities are an improvement, but the old building MUST have had better acoustics in council hall. You can't get any worse than what we have now, where even speaking directly into a microphone is barely loud enough to hear from the audience.

These are the only 3 of this sort of mural I've seen. There may be more. Let me know.

Drive west on Marshall and look up to the right at Astor Street. The taller building has a mural of dolphins on the top 2 stories of its blank wall. No clue who painted it--probably one of the owners or a renter. Not only do I like this mural, I love the way it draws your eye upward so you notice the really pretty mansard roof and window bump-out of the red building.

There's your tour of N-town's murals. They inspire me to paint one on the blank wall of my porch, though I'm not great at design. If anyone artistic out there wants to help, let me know.

Oh, and as for the rest of the opinions about the  Dekalb and Lafayette mural? Everyone not only wants it to stay, but everyone views it as a gateway to and symbol of Arts Hill.

So, whether or not the concern raised over the mural, in light of the proposed improvements to 201 Dekalb, is valid concern or false alarm, the incident at the last council meeting that started the discussion was a good thing, in that it allowed the people of Norristown to once more raise their voices in support of Arts Hill.

Come to the council meeting tonight at Municipal Hall, 7:30 pm, and hear the end of the discussion  

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