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So What's Going On?
Over the next few
months, the Army Corps of Engineers will consult with groups and
individuals to determine the eligibility of the 1976 Bicentennial
Mural, for the National Register of Historic Places. (see
Secretary of the Interior's Standards at
Original photo courtesy Carrie Graber
To quote presiding Federal Judge Jesus Bernal, "There is a serious
question that the Mural may qualify." In his letter to
the Corps, Tom McCulloch, acting director of the Advisory Council on
Historic Preservation stated the following, "Information about the
Historic Significance of the Mural has been recently brought to the
Corps attention and we have received a copy of a petition containing
over 21,000 signatures in support of the restoration of the
Mural. Because of this new information and clear public support,
we urge the Corps to assess the eligibility of the Mural in
consultation with the California State Historic Preservation
Office. Organizations, Elected Officials and the Public
will also be included.
We have a National Landmark on our hands and are confident that the
Bicentennial Mural will be added to the National Register of Historic
Places because it meets the requirements for eligibility. Please
see bullet points below.
• The Bicentennial Mural is one of the most ambitious and now
last remaining vestiges
of an exceptional manifestation in our Nation's history
and the Mural was a direct part
of that National event.
• The Mural is one of the last publicly visible artifacts of any
kind to convey the
• The Mural is an instrument of learning and inspiration.
• The Mural is valued and supported by public participation,
(21,000 petition signatures)
both in the community, the elected officials of the 5
cities that surround the Mural and
• The Mural is in danger of being lost forever.
• Even though condition is not a threshold for eligibility, the
Mural has decidedly retained
it's Historic Integrity.
• In addition, the Mural’s patriotic theme was designed and
painted by high school kids
which was what the American Revolution Bicentennial
Administration encouraged untold
millions to do ("as their own thing") for their community
and their Country.
• The Bicentennial Mural is quite literally a physical landmark
and stands as a gateway
element to Southern California's Inland Empire. To put the
mural into perspective, Six
Mount Rushmore's could fit inside it. The thirteen
stars on the Mural represent the
original thirteen Colonies. The bell is more than
the Liberty Bell, according to the
artist, “Bell’s were in towns across the country, they
were meant to bring people
together, both in crises and celebration".
• For over a mile, the mural is in plain view of the 300,000 cars
that pass by daily, on
California's SR-91 Freeway, giving the Public time to
contemplate it as part of their lives,
their community and their culture.
• It's simply familiar. The majority of the 10,000 comments
on the Mural's petition
page have statements like "I know I'm home when I see the
mural." "It's part of our
reminds me of my childhood travels and is a California Marker.
• On New Years Eve 1976, President Ford said, " As our first
resolution for the New Year,
let us pledge to keep the Spirit of 76 alive. In 1999
President Ford told the Mural's
original artist he was very aware of the Mural and that it
should be preserved.
• The Goals of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration
mirror those of the
Advisory Council On Historic Preservation, as can be seen
in their statement: "The spirit
and direction of the Nation can be found upon and
reflected in it's historic heritage, the
historical and cultural foundations of the Nation should
be preserved as a living part of
our community life and development in order to give a
sense of orientation to the
American people and that of present and future
Although being added to the registry does not guarantee protection of
the Mural, it will publicly acknowledge the Mural's importance as an
historically significant property.
We will keep you updated and thanks to everyone for all the e-mails and
support you have shown for this National Treasure!