Mural honors old Salem City Hall

The third mounted mural, a rendition of Salem City Hall when it was located on East State Street – near where the current municipal parking lot on the corner of N. Ellsworth Avenue and East State Street is – was placed on the west wall of that old building with the assistance of Service Safety Director Ken Kenst. The painting is a John Swenningson piece. He was a 1919 Salem High School graduate and lifelong city resident who wanted to follow in the steps of Salem artist Charles Burchfield. The Pearce Foundation provided a grant for this Swenningson and two others – “The Stark Electric Railroad” at 139 N. Ellsworth Ave., and a 6-by-20-foot panel at 355-360 E. State St. depicting about 50 scenes from Salem History. Bob Schuck, who originated the idea of the murals, said the Pearce Foundation grant is exhausted and money is being sought to continue the Murals of Salem program under the auspices of the Salem Preservation Society. Pictured from the left are, Larry and Mary Bowersock, a niece of Swenningson; Dave Stratton, Salem Historical Society; Camille Franzen, Tourism Board; and Schuck, originator of the Murals of Salem. Not pictured are Ginger Grille of the Salem Preservation Society and Donna Chappell of Chappell Framing who provided the weatherproof frame. City electrician Mike Bibbee and a co-worker installed the painting. Donations to continue funding the Murals of Salem can be made to the Salem Preservation Society, P.O. Box 1034, Salem, OH 44460. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)