History barn mural dedication set for Friday in Champion

CHAMPION — The Packard Automobile Ohio History barn mural will be unveiled 10 a.m. Friday at Don and Helen Fenstermaker’s barn at 973 Center St., Champion.

The mural, which is the eighth in a series of barns that will showcase innovators, innovations or accomplishments from Ohio history, is a partnership between the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau, the National Packard Museum, the Trumbull County Historical Society and Ohio History Connection to showcase the legacy of the Packard Automobile.

The Fenstermaker’s barn is located near the company’s original location in Warren.

Don Fenstermaker also has a personal connection to Packard because he worked there for 35 years, as did his mother and many other relatives.

The mural is the work of barn artist Scott Hagan, who also painted the 88 Ohio Bicentennial Barns between 1998 and 2002. Hagan began work on the barn on Monday.

Fenstermaker said he feels lucky to have worked at Packard during its heyday and adds, “We are proud to have been chosen to have the barn painted and we would like to thank the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau, the state of Ohio, and painter Scott Hagan for working with us on the project.”

The Ohio History Connection plans to continue this project with other barns across Ohio. The other seven completed barns depict former president Rutherford B. Hayes in Sandusky County, Annie Oakley in Darke County, Zoar Village Bicentenninal in Tuscarawas County, Massillon Tigers vs. Canton-McKinley Football Rivalry in Stark County, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry in Ottawa County, Tecumseh in Greene County and first-ever Medal of Honor recipient Jacob Parrott in Hardin County.

Mary Ann Porinchak, executive director of the National Packard Museum in Warren, said the first Packard Motor Car was built in Warren in 1899 at the Packard Electric Company.

“The Packard Motor Car Company was a major automobile manufacturer in the United States during the first half of the 20th century that produced elegant, expensive and top-of-the-market cars,” she said.

“We’re thrilled that we were selected so early in the Ohio History Connection Project. This barn painting will prompt visitors to explore this and other sites in Trumbull County, and we encourage both visitors and residents alike to take in the legacy left by the Packard family to this area,” said Beth Kotwis Carmichael, executive director of the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau.