Big Walnut Area Historical Society
will explore the effect art and history is having on a dying industrial town at their meeting at 7:30 Tuesday evening September 12 in the Myers Inn Meeting Room. A film, “Beyond These Walls,”
shows how a devastated industrial community pulled together to bring hope and pride to their residents. Admission to the program is free.
Following the 1937 flood which filled the area with high water, the Army Corps of Engineers built a 20 foot high flood wall 2090 feet long to protect the city of Portsmouth from future floods.
Portsmouth became a thriving industrial town with steel mills & shoe factories but eventually, cheaper labor in foreign countries closed the companies leaving no jobs, empty buildings, and a depressed economy.
This program shows how history and art teamed together to bring pride back to a community that was devastated economically.
Through the efforts of an ambitious group of citizens, an amazing program to paint the town’s history on the flood wall was formed and fundraising was started.
BWAHS members and former Portsmouth residents, Connie Ackerman and Roger Roberts hope you will enjoy this emotional film made by Lorentz Productions in 2014. As retired teachers they were particularly moved to watch the high school students of Portsmouth look at a dismal future, then change as they study their history on the murals.
Notes Roger, “The project took ten years to complete and ranks with some of the great paintings of Renaissance Italy in its beauty and impact. It has united business, schools, government, many organizations, and regular people as nothing else could do. The entire south-central region of Ohio feels pride in this project.”