"Chillicothe Street - 1940's" - Portsmouth's main street - from an old postcard Mural by Robert Dafford
Portsmouth Flood Wall Mural Project -
Ohio Legacies Captured in Art
During 1992, a group of citizens, led by Dr.
Louis R. and Ava Chaboudy, imagined that painting murals
depicting the history of the Portsmouth area on the drab
Boneyfiddle floodwall would contribute to the cultural quality
of life within the community. It would also encourage the
restoration effort of the historic part of town, Boneyfiddle,
and enhance tourism. Robert Dafford, an internationally known
muralist from Lafayette, Louisiana, was contracted for
project, funded by both individual and corporate contributors,
and grants from several government arts organizations.
The first mural was completed in 1993. The murals are
arranged chronologically from east to west, starting with the
depiction of the Mound Builders, who are ancestors of the Shawnee
Indians. A more recent mural depicts a modern day scene of one of
Ohio's river bridges. Other subjects are a Shawnee Indian village,
a view of the Ohio Canal, and a Civil War scene. By 1999, forty
murals covering 32,840 square feet had been completed.
Approximately fifteen more murals, covering 10,540 square feet,
will be completed by fall of 2002, in time for the bicentennial
celebrations in Scioto County and Ohio.
Dafford and his team of artisans research mural
subjects by studying old photographs from the Carl Akerman
collection at the Southern Museum and Cultural Center; and
photographs, pictures, books, and post cards from private
collections and the Shawnee State University library. Dafford also
gains insight for his work from discussions he has with senior
citizens and local groups who have knowledge about particular mural
Documentation includes a nine-page report and 12
photographs of murals.
Originally submitted by: Ted Strickland, Representative (6th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.