Work underway to restore 110-year-old mural in Mahoning County courtroom

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It cost Mahoning County less than $2,500, but the thought of preserving a piece of history inside the courthouse may seem priceless to some.

A mural depicting the “Legend of Council Rock” has withstood the test of time for the most part, but the 110-year-old painting on canvas needs a touch-up.

The county brought in Andrea Chevalier, with the group known as the Intramuseum Conservation Association of Cleveland.

“I did the initial assessment about a year ago when I looked at this and I wrote a report detailing the condition problems and the treatment proposal, where I suggest what needs to be done,” she said.

Chevalier’s first step was to take photos of the damage, which consists mostly of tears in the fabric. It’s peeling away from the walls inside Judge John Durkin’s courtroom. She’s also looking for other spots that need to be repaired.

“Areas like this, this is where paint is missing, and I can see that there’s a cut here that was done in the past, so I’m going to retouch the areas so that you don’t see them,” she said.

She believes the original artist painted this on one large canvas and then cut it into sections.

“He paints it in his studio and then it was rolled up because it is canvas, so it’s pliable — you can bend it — brought here and installed here,” she said.

Chevalier’s principle tools are a special glue used in art restoration, a sheet of mylar to protect the canvas and a small iron to heat the glue so it sticks to the wall.

While it’s exacting work, it’s a labor of love.

“Heartening that people take care of those things, that they’re valued. That they’re accepted as part of the building structure as the history of the building and people take care of them,” Chevalier said.

If all goes as planned, this should look as if there was never any damage.

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