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    Mural Fever: Public Art in the D.C. Area 

A Summer's Day mural at East-West Hwy. and Baltimore Ave. in Riverdale Park, Md.

"A Summer's Day," painted by John Ford in 1976, depicts the artist's memory of summer visits with his grandfather, Walter Ford, at his grandparents' Riverdale Park home.

 John Ford, who died in 1996 at age 42, painted the mural on a large board affixed to the side of what used to be a consignment shop. He added an overhang at the top to protect the mural from the weather, says  Riverdale Park Mayor Ann Ferguson.

Riverdale Park officials  fought in 1998 to preserve the mural after an Eckerd's Drugstore proposed demolishing the building to open a new store. Residents protested and eventually won the battle to keep the mural and the building. Ferguson says in October 2000 the municipality purchased the land underneath the mural to plant flowers and  build a small park. For now, the mural will not be torn down. 

"It's an identifying marker," Ferguson says. "When Eckerd's Drugstore threatened that corner (East-West Highway and Baltimore Avenue), a lot of people from the surrounding area were inflamed. 

"They said, 'I count on that mural when I see it. When I see it, I know I am in Riverdale Park.' "


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Copyright 2001 University of Maryland College of Journalism

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