Colorful Murals of York, Pa., engaging and intriguing at old age of 15

081110-sub-mural-york-1800s.jpg
“York in the 1800s” is one of 18 large-scale paintings that are part of the Murals of York. The West Market Street panel is also one of murals most impacted by weather and time. Also of interest: The Murals of York, Pa., revisited and Murals of York celebrate their 10th anniversary and Murals of York compared to century-old historical artifact.

The oldest of the Murals of York, “York Manufacturing Company,” is celebrating its 15th birthday and others are nearing that milestone.
But some are already looking a little long in the tooth, even as teenagers.
Time and weather have caused paint to fade, water damage and a host of other woes.
One mural, the colorful “York in the 1800s,” appears to have lost – or is losing – some of its substrate, the underlying surface upon which its artist worked.
Community leaders behind the murals program – a program that was handed over to the York County Heritage Trust sometime after the last mural was painted in 2002 – say that the colorful paintings never were meant to be permanent… .


There simply was no way to make them so, they say.
And maintenance or temporary preservation techniques are expensive.
People remain interested in the murals while they last.
The Heritage Trust is offering tours of the murals through Labor Day.
The York Daily Record/Sunday News just launched a scavenger hunt involving the murals on Aug. 7.
The newspaper also has a walking tour and full descriptions of all the murals at ydr.com/murals.
The murals continue to be a favorite topic for speeches that I make to community groups.
And students at Roundtown Elementary School have developed a Web site with all kinds of descriptions and stories about the murals.
Their picture of “York in the 1800s” even gives an indication of the toll time and weather have taken on that mural.
Compare the recent photo to the image above.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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4 Responses to Colorful Murals of York, Pa., engaging and intriguing at old age of 15

  1. Joe says:

    So if there is no plan to preserve them is there at least a plan to remove them before they become an eyesore?

  2. Jim McClure says:

    Joe, that is correct. I think if there were funds, some things could be done to mitigate their demise, to extend their lives. But there has never been any evidence of any such fund of substance.
    Jim McClure

  3. Carolyn Van Newkirk says:

    A French delegation from Arles will be arriving in York Oct 10 and will be here until Oct 17. The first full day, Oct. 11, I am responsible for planning a meet/greet/walking tour of York. Would like to start with meeting the mayor (contact has been made), and then a walking/jitney tour of some of the murals, Gates Plough, Agricultural Manufacturing Museum, Capitol Theatre organ concert, Harley Davidson, Martin’s Potato Chips, and whatever else we can fit in. What are your suggestions and can you help York Twinning out with this short notice? Who do we contact to rent the jitney?

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