A twenty-five thousand dollar piece of history - a mural depicting Saugatuck in the Nineteeth Century - has found a new home in Westport's town hall.
“In our research - it’s amazing the story it tells about our past,” said Kathleen Bennewitz, Westport’s official town curator.
The Westport Board of Selectman unanimously approved the addition on Wednesday, saying the mural ties the past to the future. Illustrated by Westport artist Robert Lambdin, the mural was installed in the former Westport Bank & Trust Co. in 1970. Since then, the building has ended its role as a retail banking location and TD Bank is gifting the piece to the town.
“Murals are very important to TD Bank,” said Maureen Hanley-Bellitto, the senior vice-president of TD Bank in Fairfield County. “We had no idea, however, that this one was an original,” she continued.
The mural gives a glimpse of the Westport area that many might not recall, showing Saugatuck as the center of town. Selectman Helen Garten noticed a church in the mural, which she said does not exist today. She said the mural reminds people that Saugatuck was once a working port.
“This is a gift that keep on giving,” said Selectman Avi Kaner. “When we are not around anymore, people will still be enjoying this.”
To which, Garten added, “It’s a great way for people to remember Saugatuck’s past.”
You might already be familiar with some of the artist’s other works around town. Lambdin is also the artist of the 1935 painting, “Pageant of Literature”, which hangs in the Westport Public Library. Bennewitz refers to it as “one of the masterpieces in the town.”
The mural does need conservation, but TD Bank said it would consider a grant to cover those repairs, plus its move to the Town Hall. The mural will be placed Town Hall’s upper lobby area and there will be an exhibition placed around it.