Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When towns die.

We went to visit some friends this weekend in Ohio. I have to tell you the drive up there was amazing. Through the mountains Virginia, then the mountains of West Virginia and then on through Ohio it was just plain pretty. I hope we can go back and see the leaves in a few weeks. I love the idea of living in the mountains. I think I always have. Not that there were any mountains in West Texas but I watched the Waltons on TV like everybody else. Then once I actually set foot in the real mountains for the first time I was hooked. Maybe some day I will actually get to live in the mountains who knows maybe someday soon but that is a whole 'nother blog :)

While we were up visiting our friends we went and looked at the town of Portsmouth, Ohio. You can tell it was once a busy busy town. It is right on the Ohio River. You have trains and barges readily available for transport of goods. It is easy to see that the town took advantage of that in its heyday. But like so many other towns that depended on manufacturing the factories are closed now. The town is no longer the place to be. There are huge once beautiful brick buildings that are empty and close to falling down. Row houses that were built to house workers sit empty or have people in them who just don't care.

This isn't the first time I have seen this. I saw it in the North East as well. Mill towns with empty textile factories are scattered all through the North East. I have seen it in Texas where oil boom towns have dried up along with the oil. It always makes me kinda sad to see a town where the schools are closing, the stores are closing, and houses are just left abandoned. I hope Portsmouth is able to find a way to rebound. They know how to do that there. The Ohio River flooded there in many times and they had to rebuild. In 1937 there was a flood that was marked at 19 feet high on some of the buildings. After that flood they built a flood wall to protect the town.

One of my favorite things we saw was on that flood wall. They decided to have a mural painted on the wall and it is amazing. The mural shows the town from the beginning to current day.  The mural project was completed in October of 2002 with 2,200 feet of art along the Ohio River. The project has become the largest known work of art by a single artist. These are not small little pictures painted on the flood wall. The longest one is 20 feet high and 160 feet long.

Here is a picture of the wall to give you an idea of the size.

Here are some pictures from the mural.

I truly hope that they are able to find away to revitalize the town because it is a place worth saving.


1 comment:

  1. Oh my, those pictures are incredible. They are some of the most fabulous murals I've ever seen pictures of and I would love to see them with my own eyes!