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Mural memorializes Emmitsburg’s history

James Rada
Emmitsburg Dispatch

(6/19) When members of the Gettysburg High School National Art Society set out to memorialize Emmitsburg’s history, they also memorialized their own histories because Emmitsburg’s founding fathers look like their own fathers.

“We needed them [the figures in the painting] to look like people,” said Natalie Fost, 17, of Gettysburg. “They posed for the pictures. They were very good about it.”

The Gettysburg High students painted a 28-foot wide by 10-foot high mural depicting the history of Emmitsburg under the direction of art teacher Julie Myers. The mural was hung above the truck bays at the Jubilee Market in Emmitsburg on June 17.

“We’ll let this dry and I’ll go up and touch up all the seams today and then we’ll come back tomorrow and put the gel coat on,” Myers said.

The gel coat will protect the mural from fading and rain.

Jubilee owner Loren Peters commissioned the mural through the Adams County Arts Council. “We’re the only big store in town so we try to base what we do around the town,” Peters said.

The council then contacted Myers who leaped at the chance to do the mural. The school’s chapter of the National Art Society had been trying to raise funds for a trip to Europe this summer and the mural became the perfect fundraiser.

“This project made our costs go from $4,000 (per person) to $1,800,” said Arielle Sargent, 18, of Gettysburg, and one of the students who worked on the mural.

Myers said about seven student worked on the mural, spending anywhere from 100 – 200 hours per person, which doesn’t include the design time.

The final design shows the meeting in Hockensmith’s Tavern when Emmitsburg was founded, the Toms Creek Hundred and Cole’s Calvary.

“They captured all of the critical things and I think it will be something to get people interested in history,” said Mike Hillman, President of the Emmitsburg Historical Society and historical consultant on the project.

To depict the scene in Hockensmith’s Tavern, the Dobbin House in Gettysburg was used as a model for how the tavern would have looked and the people dressed. Samuel Emmit’s face is based on a portrait of his grandson, William, and others in the tavern scene are actually based on the fathers of the young artists who created the mural.

Myers also said her students got a history lesson in the founding of Emmitsburg as they worked on the project.

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