The idea of painting murals on the floodwall first occurred to lifetime residents Dr. Louis R. and Ava Chaboudy in 1992 after viewing outdoor murals in Steubenville, Ohio. An ad hoc committee was formed and the decision was made to transform the floodwall into a beautiful outdoor art gallery depicting the history of Portsmouth and the surrounding area. In May 1993, internationally known muralist Robert Dafford from Lafayette, Louisiana began painting on the longest mural in the project, the 1903 scene of Portsmouth.
The mural project was completed in October of 2002 with 2,200 square feet of art and 52 magnificently painted murals.
The Mound Builders
The Mound Builders built and occupied mounds in Southern Ohio long before explorers came to the New World. The central area of this mural reveals a linear image of two horseshoe-shaped mounds, in what is known as Mound Park, that course southeastward across the Ohio River to a "medicine wheel" mound located at the Hardin Farm near Siloam, Kentucky. This lineup of mounds is said to have had some equinoctial significance to the Mound Builders.
Mound Park is located on Grant Street in Portsmouth and Serpent Mound is on State Route 73, six miles north of State Route 32 and 20 miles south of Bainbridge in Adams County, Ohio.
"Ancient Legacies Of The Ohio River Valley", A monumental exhibition of 10,000 prehistoric Native American artifacts from the Mound Builders cultures of the Ohio River Valley. Opening late summer or early fall 2004 in the Mezzanine Gallery of the Southern Ohio Museum, located at 825 Gallia Street, Portsmouth.
Early Shawnee Village, 1730
Shawnee Indians first arrived in the Mid Ohio Valley during the 1100's, migrating from Central Mexico. Since they were nomadic and traveled great distances, they became knowledgeable traders. The Shawnee returned to the area in the late 1600's, traveling west from Pennsylvania. This mural shows a winter scene of a Shawnee Village with a view from the north, looking across the Ohio River. The Native Americans in the mural can be seen wearing customary clothing and jewelry. The men in the picture are busy in the activity of trading while the children play. The huts were composed primarily of tree bark and animal hides covering wooden frames.
Celeron DeBlainville, 1749
This mural is a larger-than-life size copy of a mural by H.H. Wessel, located in the law library of the Scioto County Courthouse. The French General, Celeron de Blainville, is shown meeting with Native Americans and a few British traders at the confluence of the Ohio and Scioto Rivers laying claim to the entire Ohio Valley and its tributaries. This was done by burying lead plates at certain locations along the course of the Ohio River. The original painting can be viewed at the Scioto County Courthouse, located on 6th Street, Portsmouth.