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Fairfield Museum Preserves Painted Peek Into Bridgeport's Past

Fairfield Museum & History Center and the Black Rock History Committee have preserved a bank mural depicting Black Rock of yore.
Fairfield Museum & History Center and the Black Rock History Committee have preserved a bank mural depicting Black Rock of yore. Photo Credit: Contributed
Westport artist Robert Lambdin painted this scene for a Black Rock bank.
Westport artist Robert Lambdin painted this scene for a Black Rock bank. Photo Credit: Contributed
Westport artist Robert Lambdin painted this mural for a Black Rock bank in the 1940s.
Westport artist Robert Lambdin painted this mural for a Black Rock bank in the 1940s. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A 70-year-old mural depicting a bustling Black Rock Harbor scene in a former neighborhood bank has been preserved while the building is being remodeled into housing and retail space.

On display in the former Black Rock Bank & Trust since the 1940s, “Old Black Rock Harbor About 1810” was saved by the Fairfield Museum & History Center in partnership with the Black Rock History Committee.

“Through the generosity of the building’s new owner, Tom Quinn, this important part of Black Rock’s artistic history has been donated to the Fairfield Museum and will be preserved for future generations,” said museum Executive Director Michael Jehle.

Westport artist Robert Lambdin (1886-1981) was hired to design and paint the mural for the bank, located at the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Brewster Street.

He spent two months researching the area at the Fairfield Historical Society and another three months creating the work, which shows deckhands unloading a ship’s cargo onto the docks with a warehouse and lighthouse nearby.

The 20-foot-long mural was completed in 1948.

During the Great Depression, Lambdin won several commissions through the Works Progress Administration to depict American life in public buildings, such as libraries, schools and post offices.

This particular work is significant for both Bridgeport and Fairfield, as Black Rock was once a part of Fairfield.

The mural suffered some damage over the years when the bank was vacant and the museum is seeking donors to assist in restoration, which will likely cost $25,000-$30,000.

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