Hey Watchung, do you want to save this mural?
This one got me rather sentimental. There is a push to save a mural from the wrecking ball in Watchung, NJ. The Sears store on Rt. 22 is closing and the whole building is scheduled for demolition this fall. Inside that Sears store as you descend the stairs to the lower level is a mural called The Legend Of Watchung. It's been there since the 1960's when the store opened. The mural depicts Dutch Captain Michaelson, Chief One Feather and Princess Wetumpka. The Legend of Watchung was an incident in the 1600's when Dutch settlers and Lenni-Lenape Indians clashed and the Dutch captain was captured. He was to be burned at the stake until the princess intervened. The painting was done by Garfield Hunter Jones who was known for his murals. This one is 16 feet by 10 feet, done on a thin canvas and glued to a wall.
Those of us who have been to that Sears often are extremely familiar with it. You can't really think of that store without thinking of that mural. A committee has been looking into preserving it and a feasibility study shows it would cost about $40,000. Money is being raised and donations are said to be tax deductible. In a week's time only $1,200 has been donated, so as someone who well remembers this mural on every trip I took to that Sears as a kid with my dad I thought I'd help get word out. If you'd like to donate, go here. It's sad to see another piece of New Jersey disappear, and another piece of our childhood vanish.
We used to do all our Christmas shopping at that store. In the summers we might stop at that Sears for something, then continue down 22 and hit Bowcraft amusement park. Sadly, even that Bowcraft is soon going away. Driving up to that Sears store through Scotch Plains sometimes we would stop at the Terry Lou Zoo. Guess what? Yep, closed down years ago.