Wall of fame mural's reader boards are finished

Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Reader boards have been installed to describe the famous Missourians depicted on the Missouri Wall of Fame in downtown Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

The reader boards describing the images on the "Missouri Wall of Fame" have been completed in time for Libertyfest.

An hour after they were put in place Monday, people already were browsing the biographies of the 45 characters painted on the downtown flood wall.

"People have the option to really experience the riverfront at their own pace now," said Chuck Martin, executive director of the Cape Girar­deau Convention and Visitors Bureau. Brochures were previously made available at the bureau with a write-up of the mural.

Now the information on the boards explains the significance of each portrait painted by Chicago artist Thomas Melvin last year. The original design was created by Margaret Dement in the mid-1990s.

So far about 20 people have sponsored the project, according to River Heritage Mural Association president Tim Blattner. But about six panels remain, featuring famous literary figures and Hollywood stars.

The sponsorships are intended to offset the cost of the project, which was funded by the association, Blattner said. The goal is to raise $80,000 to $90,000.

The remaining sponsorships range from $2,000 to $5,000 and those who contribute will have their names listed on the reader boards.

Chuck and Laura McGinty of McGinty CP Jewelers on North Main Street are among the local contributors. They chose to sponsor the panel dedicated to Thomas Hart Benton, the artist who designed the murals inside the Capitol Building in Jefferson City. The McGintys said they chose Benton because they believed he was a good, honest person.

"As children we were taken on a big tour of those murals," said Chuck McGinty, reminiscing about Benton's artwork in the House Lounge.

Doc Cain, owner of Water Street's Port Cape Girardeau restaurant, said he has yet to come up with a reason for choosing the painting of the Missouri mule, the state animal.

"Other than our sheer stubbornness at Port Cape, we just wanted to help out the community," he said jokingly.

Other faces on the wall of fame selected by residents are poet Langston Hughes, baseball player Stan Musial and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, to name a few.

Blattner, who helped lead the project, said the reader boards help accentuate Cape Girardeau's riverwalk and the mural is something Missourians should be proud of.

tkrakowiak@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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