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Mural draws on town’s history to be permanent art fixture

By Alberto Suris
Rumbo News

HAVERHILL, MA — A mural, depicting who’s who in Haverhill was unveiled on August 2, 2012 following a reception at Maria’s Restaurant sponsored by Team Haverhill.

Team Haverhill used the side of a building located at 25 Essex St., to create the 3,000 square-foot mural to depict several Haverhill residents, past and present, who have helped make the city what it is today.

The mural, designed by renowned Meg Saligman Studios of Philadelphia was about two years in the making. It all started as a tribute to legendary movie maker Louis B. Mayer and close to where, in 1907, he opened The Orpheum Movie Theater. From Haverhill, Mayer moved to Hollywood, where he founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp., creators of well-known movies as “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind.

The center of the mural represents the Orpheum Theatre with Mayer in a prominent place. Sitting around Mayer are famous past and present Haverhill residents, such as Tom Bergeron, the host of Dancing with the Stars; Tampa Bay Rays left-handed first baseman Carlos Pena, born May 17, 1978 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic who graduated from Haverhill High School in 1995; Andre Dubus III, the author of Townie; and Mike Ryan who was a member of the 1967 Red Sox Impossible Dream team.

To the list of famous, many others were added and among them, the familiar names of Bob Montana, the creator of Archie Comic Strips; the internationally known opera singer Cora Chase; Sidney Mason, Haverhill’s first African-American firefighter; Kalister Green-Byrd, a retired educator who now works with underprivileged kids at Haverhill High School and Yanna Haginicolas, holding hands with Green-Byrd, representing a symbol of Haverhill’s future.

Everyone sitting in the theater is looking at an image of famed shoe designer Stuart Weitzman on the big screen with a shoe in his hand. Weitzman’s father, Seymour Weitzman, started a shoe factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in the late 1950s, “Seymour Shoes” (also sold under the label: “Mr. Seymour”). Stuart began designing shoes for his father’s business in the early 1960s, when he was in his 20s.

When Seymour Weitzman died in 1965, Stuart took over the business with his older brother, Warren Weitzman. They sold the business to a company in Spain in 1972, but Stuart continued to design shoes for the company. In 1994, he bought back the business, but continues to manufacture his shoe designs in Spain.

The Shortnose Sturgeon, an endangered species and member of one of the oldest families of fish still in existence today was not left out. The sturgeon uses a small stretch of the Merrimack River in Haverhill to lay eggs yearly. The sturgeon is used here to depict one of Haverhill’s many interesting idiosyncrasies.

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