thatarenotsignedandhavenotbeenproperlyat-
tributed.

Bythemid-1840s,RufusPortergaveupthelife

ofanitinerantartistandmovedtoNewYorkto
focusonjournalismandonseveralinventions.

WhilePorter’splansforanautomobile,elevated

trainandpassengerplanemarkhimasaman
aheadofhistime,noneweretakenseriouslyduring
hislife.

However,healsofoundedScientificAmericanin

1845,ajournalthatbroughtattentiontohisideas
andcontinuestodaytoexplore“theFutureofSci-
ence&Technology.”

Atsomepoint,probablyinthelater1800s,

Poor’smuralsattheBurbankhousewerecovered
withwallpaper.In1967,anewsetofhomeowners
noticedthemurals—thistime,underapieceof
partially-peeledwallpaper.

In1983,plannedhomerenovationsthreatened

thesurvivalofthemurals,butconservatorChris-
tianaCunningham-Adamswasabletoremove
themforpreservation.

First,theremainingfragmentsofwallpaperwere

steamedoff.Next,thefaceofthemuralwascov-
eredwithlayersofpaper,cheesecloth,burlap,resin
andplywoodtoprotectitssurface.Finally,achain-
sawwasusedtocutoutthewallfortransport.

OnceCunningham-Adamsbroughtthemural

backtoherstudio,shestartedtoworkonpreserv-
ingit.Hergoalwastoprotectthewayitlooked
whenitwasremoved,nottorestoreittoitsorigi-
nalcondition.

Shefilledinlossesbymatchingthenewpaintto

thefadedcolorsofthemural.Gluewasappliedto
preventpeelingandtohelpholdthepainttothe
surfaceofthewallinordertopreventfuturedete-
rioration.

TheNationalHeritageMuseumhasaclimate-

controlsysteminplacethatwillalsohelpprotect
themuralnowthatithasapermanenthomein
Lexington.

MasonicMurals

WhilethePoormuraldepictsarurallandscape,

othersincludeMasonicsymbols.Often,thesehave
beenfoundinbuildingswithahistoryasMasonic
meetingplaces,liketavernsandlargeprivate
homes.

Perhapsoneofthebest-knowninNewEngland

istheSalemTowneHouse,nowatOldSturbridge
Village.Onthesecondfloor,alargeroomorigi-

nallyintendedasaballroomstillretainsmuralsof
the“cedarsofLebanon.”And,ontheceiling,a
recreatedall-seeingeyesymbolstaresdown.

Thisdesignisbasedonadescriptionofahall

thatwaspreparedfortheuseofKingSolomon’s
LodgeinWoodbury,CT.Thatlodgemetinthe
spacefrom1797to1824,atimewhenwallpaint-
ingwaswidelypopular.

TheSalemTowneHousewasoriginallybuiltin

Charlton,MA,in1796.InMarchofthesameyear,
agroupofmenfromCharlton,ledbyEbenezer
Phillips,petitionedtheGrandLodgeofMassa-
chusettsforachartertostartaMasoniclodgein
town,tobenamedFayetteLodge.

Thepetitionwasgrantedandthelodgewas

chartered.WhenFayetteLodgemetduringits
earlyyears(atleastuntil1800),themeetingswere
oftenheldatthehomeofSalemTowneSr.,Fayette
Lodge’sSeniorSteward.

RufusPorterhimselfincludedMasonicsymbols

inatleastonewallmural.

Around1824,Porterandanassistant,probably

MosesEatonJr.,paintedthewallsoftheJoshua
EatonHouseinBradford,NH.

ThehousewasusedasaMasonicmeetingplace

12

November2008/

TheNorthernLight

—CedarsofLebanon,
SalemTowneHouse,
ca.1796,
OldSturbridgeVillage.

wallpainting