Submitted by Guest Blogger, Rick Harker
It’s so nice to see when small northern towns that were left as almost forgotten, get a new breath of fresh air! One such town sandwiched between the eastern side of the Adirondacks and the western shores of Lake Champlain is the historic town of Port Henry. Port Henry is a hamlet within the larger town of Moriah. Like several Adirondack coastal towns along the shores of Lake Champlain, Moriah was once known for its iron trade used primarily for ship building. This is a special area steeped in history from the days of yesteryear.
I’m a lover of history myself, but that’s not what I’m writing about today. Instead I want to take you on a photo tour of some public art around the Port Henry/Moriah area. These murals burst with fresh color and imagination! Be transformed back to a time when life was simple. Linda Smyth, artist, has captured those moments of euphoria in Port Henry! Better yet, a new ‘village self-guided walking tour of public art’ is now available when you visit!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This marvelous art collection is no exception! From the moment you drive into town, you’ll see baseball pitcher and legend Johnny Padres depicted on a greeting sign welcoming you to this wonderful lakeside village of Port Henry, NY. And, not to mention, there is a sign upon entering town, posting the names of those who actually saw the legendary lake monster named Champ. He resides out there in those lake waters somewhere! Oh what fun! Below you will find just a few pieces of the artwork that adorns the streets of Port Henry. Enjoy your trip back in time!
“May Day, May Day! I’m in a time warp here!” Can you believe this mural was actually created by a 12-year-old girl named Alethea Goralczyk?! You don’t get this talent by playing video games!
This is a large mural depicting the grand Witherbee Sherman Company headquarters. Today it is the Town Hall building. The layered effects on this mural are surreal! And you don’t even need 3-D glasses!
Port Henry’s downtown is the hub for village art activities. You will have a to second glance at this art work if you’re just passing through! “ Can we come in?” **CLUNK!** “Oh, that’s NOT a real door?”
Just behind the historic Mt. Moriah Presbyterian Church I discovered a small piece of the tropics here in the north country! Exotic plants, animals, a lady bug and a very bright flamingo will warm you up on a cool Adirondack day.
I love it when the children get involved. Port Henry does it up right! Seven young local artists painted this festive mural. You really must “Take time to smell the flowers.” These flowers are in bloom year round!
This is a grey-scale mural that recreates a historic photo of downtown Port Henry. Can you feel the simplicity of how life was once lived? Come see for yourself.
After completing my relaxing and very enjoyable walking tour of Port Henry, my curiosity was piqued by a family who told me of one more mural I just had to go see. The location was just a few short miles up the hill to the community of Mineville. Was it worth it? You bet it was!
Once in Mineville, I found this mural located on the old Rexall Drug building. This panoramic mural depicts everything this area is about. From famed pitcher and native son, Johnny Padres throwing a baseball to the beautiful Lake Champlain shoreline, along with the rich railroad history to the rich iron mine history. This is what this area is all about! All wrapped up in one painting. I’m so glad I took the time.
I encourage you too to experience the revived essence of Port Henry and the surrounding communities. While visiting, be sure to chat with some of the many locals of the Lake Champlain Region. Their friendliness is contagious. They will be glad to see you and you’ll be glad you came!
While in Port Henry, take time to visit the Iron Center Museum on Park Place. You will gain a further appreciation of the vast history of this community.
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