2011-05-18 / Front Page

A piece of history is uncovered

Local artist’s work discovered by Oddfellows
Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

When a historic building undergoes renovation, artifacts from the past are frequently discovered. This was the situation when the Oddfellows recently began to renovate the interior of their building on S. Washington St. in Delphi.

“We started remodeling this about two weeks ago,” Oddfellow Don Burkhalter said Monday. “The American Legion uses this space and they kept the doors locked to the storage rooms where we discovered art on the walls.”

What the Oddfellows uncovered were two colorful murals painted by local artist Lucy Long in 1969. According to Historic Preservation Society member Anita Werling, one scene is of the streetfront of the building. The Oddfellows building was formerly known as the Swegmann Building and was built in 1868. The mural also depicts the former Masonic Temple, built in the late 1850s, across the alley. That building now houses Times Past Antiques. The second mural discovered is an image of a European scene.


The late Lucy Long painted these two murals in 1969 that were uncovered recently during renovations to the Oddfellows building in Delphi. The late Lucy Long painted these two murals in 1969 that were uncovered recently during renovations to the Oddfellows building in Delphi. Linda Long McNees, Lucy Long’s daughter, said she remembers her father Ned operated a pool hall in the Oddfellows building. She said she was present when her mother painted the murals in the 1960s.

“Mom was a very gifted artist,” McNees said.

Linda, who is a 1970 graduate of Delphi Community High School, said she inherited some of her mother’s talent, which she has passed on to her own daughter, who is a high school art teacher in Illinois. Linda said her father passed away in 2003 and her mother died in 2005. A brother, Stan, farms the family farm in Carroll County.

Stan said Tuesday he also remembers his mother painting murals, although he was probably in the fifth grade at the time. He said she was active in the Delphi Art Club with local residents Leo Rider and Bob Quinn. Stan said at that time, his mother appreciated local artist Jeanne Clawson’s work.

Burkhalter explained that the Oddfellows will display one of the murals in the new kitchen area being created in the renovation. The Delphi scene will be displayed on the wall in an office area. The American Legion will continue to use the building for storage and meetings. The artwork will be available for viewing when the building is open.

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