Packard barn mural unveiled

CHAMPION — Trumbull County’s Ohio History Barn mural celebrating the Packard family’s legacy was unveiled, unfinished, Friday morning.

The mural was painted on Don and Helen Fenstermaker’s barn on Center Street and highlights the Packard Motor Car, the date Packard was founded, the Ohio History Connection logo and the Packard crest that was featured on some of the vehicles.

“This one’s pretty detailed. It may not look like it, but there’s a lot of little fine things to paint. That’s what’s hard on something like that,” said Scott Hagan, also known as the Barn Artist, who painted this mural along with the Bicentennial Barns across the state between 1998 and 2002. “And Don’s been such a great barn owner;­ he’s probably one of the best barn owners we’ve had. He’s excited and happy and that’s always great.”

Mary Ann Porinchak, executive director for the National Packard Museum, called the mural “a banner of Packard excellence”and believes it will remind both visitors and residents of the area’s deep historical roots.

“Every day there’s something happening here because our lives are steeped in history. The Packard history is a very long one in this community. Every time you turn your windshield wipers on in your car, you can thank the Packard brothers ,and every time you turn your air conditioning on in your car, you can thank the Packard brothers. Glove compartments, the foot pedal accelerator, there’s so many innovations and developments that came from that Packard family,” Porinchak said.

The National Packard Museum, Ohio History Connection and the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau came together to create the mural after the success of the Bicentennial Barns.

“It (the Bicentennial Barns) was a phenomenal success and still is because people treasure these barns. So later on, we wanted to do something more substantial, and topical, that really celebrates the accomplishments of communities like the Packards here in Warren. It’s really cool to celebrate it in this way,” said Stephen George, senior adviser of the Ohio History Connection. “I’m really proud of this, this looks great. The Packard automobile was a class act product, it was at the top of the market for a very long time. People aspired to have a Packard.”

Hagan is proud of the work he’s done and says that although he doesn’t keep track, he thinks he’s painted more than 500 barns in 19 states. The Packard barn is the eighth in the Ohio History Barn series.

“What’s fun about it is I can be driving around the state and I think I’m in a new area that I haven’t been to and I’ll pass a barn I painted that I forgot about. I’ve been doing it that long now. Just traveling around the state and the country really is the most rewarding part,” Hagan said. ” I’m grateful to Steve, for, you know, taking a chance on a 19-year-old back in those days and 22 years later, we’re still working together.”

Other murals in the series include 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.

bshiller@tribtoday.com

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