Prado Dam Mural
200 Years of Freedom   20 Years of Neglect

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January 2016

So What's Going On?

mural with white restored
Original photo courtesy Carrie Graber

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 http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/106Review.pdf )

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
    Bicentennial event.

•  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 Country. 

•  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 left on the Mural's petition
   page have statements like "I know I'm home when I see the mural."  "It's part of our
   lives." "It 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 generations."
 
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!

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