Amherst community history mural gets rededicated Saturday

  • Cambridge artist David Fichter works on a portrait of banjo player Gil Roberts placed in the setting of the old Amherst Hotel in Fichter's recreation of the Amherst Community History Mural on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Saturday, November 16, 2019

AMHERST — The restored Amherst Community History Mural, lost following the demolition of the Amherst Carriage Shops three years ago, will be rededicated during a ceremony at West Cemetery on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Prominently featuring Emily Dickinson and numerous other historical figures who lived in Amherst, the 150-foot-long and 16-foot-tall mural was completed by Cambridge artist David Fichter on the cemetery-facing side of the One East Pleasant building.

The original mural, which Fichter undertook in 2004 and 2005, was commissioned by the Amherst Historical Commission to bring attention to the historic West Cemetery, following the success of placing the cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cemetery is somewhat of a tourist attraction because it is the final resting place for Dickinson and her family.

During the ceremony, the Amherst Community Gospel Choir will perform and light refreshments, including doughnuts and cider, will be served.

Jim Wald, a member of the Amherst Historical Commission that helped organize the original mural, is expected to speak, and Fichter will also be on hand.

The mural depicts people important to Amherst’s literary, agricultural, education, military, industrial, social and economic histories. Among them are lexicographer and Bible translator Noah Webster; Lilian Garis, author of the Bobbsey Twins books and mysteries for girls; poets Robert Frost and Robert Francis; Sanford Jackson, one of the 26 African-American soldiers from Amherst who served in the Civil War; Walter Dickinson Cowls, a lumber manufacturer and railway line builder; and Italian immigrant street vendors “Peanut John” and Candida Musante.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.