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Mural of memories: Historical wall in Menomonie set to be demolished to make way for new hotel

posted Jan. 9, 2017 12:00 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Pamela Powers. bio | email

  • pp_mural1_010917-2
    Staff photo by Pamela Powers | Enlarge
    - Terry Parzyck was one of three painters who created the mural in downtown Menomonie near Main Street and Second Avenue. He and the other two painters included themselves in the mural that depicted working people who helped build Menomonie. He is the at the top of the ladder holding a paintbrush.
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    Contributed photo | Enlarge
    - Patty Parzyck, muralists Terry Parzyck’s wife, has created commemorative artwork of photos she has taken of the mural. The artwork will be for sale by the end of the month at La dee dah in downtown Menomonie.

MENOMONIE — About 38 years ago Terry Parzyck and two other mural painters created a near 30-by-20-foot mural compiled from photos of working people who helped build Menomonie.

The mural near the corner of Main Street and Second Street is slated to be demolished along with the Lee Building later this month to make room in downtown Menomonie for a new hotel — the Cobblestone Inn on Main Street.

Demolition is slated to start for the hotel around Jan. 23, according to the Menomonie building inspector’s office.

Parzyck, of Colfax, along with Pete Lang and Jeff Maynard, painted the mural in 1978 with a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board to the Dunn County Artspeople Organzation, Parzyck said.

Parzyck, a former director of the Artspeople, said they went to the library, which at that time was in the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, and looked at a number of 19th century photos, of which about 20 were compiled to become the mural.

They created a grid pattern on the side of the building and created the mural in about a month.

“We were there before dawn and still there as the sun was going down,” he said.

Originally Parzyck did not plan to put faces on the people in the mural.

“My original idea was that people would look at the painting and think ‘that’s me’ or ‘that’s my grandfather,’ ” he said. “I wanted it more abstract.

However, the other two painters wanted faces, so they agreed to add them, Parzyck said.

The mural was to recognize the contributions of everyday people to the community, Parzyck said.

“It was a tribute to the working classes of this community,” he said.

The painters did include themselves as part of the mural. Parzyck is pictured standing on a ladder with a paintbrush in his hand, Lang is in the middle holding a bucket of paint and Maynard is at the bottom of the ladder, also holding a paintbrush.

The agreement originally with the owner of the Lee Building was the mural would stay in place for five years.

About 15 years ago a sealant was put over the mural to help preserve it, which caused the paint to flake, Parzyck said. With the paint on brick, it needed to breathe to help it stay intact.

The mural has been a mainstay in the city for years, but Parzyck said he is fine with it being demolished with the building.

“I think it should be allowed to die a natural death,” he said, noting he has painted other murals in the area that are gone. “Art is the life of artists. It’s just residue. I left it decades ago. I never thought it was that special. It was not my best mural.”

He has not kept in touch with the other two artists who worked on the mural.

Parzyck, who is a fulltime coin dealer, worked for the postal service delivering mail for many years.

His wife, Patty, has created some artwork to help commemorate the mural. She has taken photos of the mural and is affixing them on canvas with a 12-inch by 12-inch and 8-inch and by 8-inch wood frame.

She also has some that are affixed on a block of wood about the size of a brick. Each piece is of a different part or person depicted on the mural and some of the larger pieces have a collage of parts of the mural. The wood is then painted the color of brick.

She also plans to possibly have some posters made of the mural for people to buy.

The artwork will be available by the end of the month at La Dee Dah, 311 Main St. E., downtown Menomonie.

“I wanted to commemorate it and have pictures of the mural that looked like brick,” she said.

Patty Parzyck said she can remember sitting across from the mural on the Mabel Tainter lawn when it was finished with her the three painters.

“They had no idea that it would last 38 years,” she said.

Contact: 715-556-9018, pamela.powers@ecpc.com, @MenomonieBureau on Twitter