The Oliver Prescott House on Old Ayer Road was recently purchased by Indian Hill Music. Several walls in the house are decorated with colorful landscape murals signed by J. D. Poor that were painted circa 1835. Jonathan D. Poor was the nephew of well-known itinerant painter Rufus Porter, whose murals decorate the walls of many old buildings in New England. Recently it has been suggested that Poor was actually more prolific than his better-known uncle and mentor.
Indian Hill Music recognized that these murals would likely be lost as the fate of the building remains unknown. The organization decided, then, to donate two of the painted walls to the Groton History Center to ensure that this element of local folk art would remain in town.
The Groton Inn, which will soon again be a focal point in the center of town, has graciously offered to display the murals in their lobby space where they will be more easily viewable and accessible to town residents and visitors. As owners of the murals, the Groton History Center will remain stewards of these important works of art and will loan them to the Inn on a long-term basis.
We are requesting funding from the Groton CPC, Bruce J. Anderson Foundation, and private donors, to hire experienced professionals for stabilization of the walls, removal of the murals, transportation of the murals, conservation and restoration work needed on the murals, and installation and display of the murals in the Groton Inn.
There is a sense of urgency with this project that necessitates its completion as soon as possible. With the Oliver Prescott House unoccupied, the murals are completely vulnerable to many potential threats of damage and destruction such as temperature fluctuation, water, and fire. These murals are unique to Groton and they are a New England treasure that we must look at as irreplaceable.
Photograph by Greg Premru