Friday, January 6, 2012
Village of Wellington, a painting by Archibald Willard, 1857. Image used courtesy of the Herrick Memorial Library and Ohio Memory.
One of the hard parts of illustrating the history of this area prior to the advent of color photography is obtaining compelling images to help tell the story. While black and white photographs can provide an excellent record, works in color are, to my eyes, much more attention-grabbing. They make me feel like I'm actually there.
I came across this painting ages ago - I'm not sure how I managed to forget about it. The canvas, painted by Archibald Willard in 1857, depicts the village of Wellington, in Lorain County.
The Spirit of '76, a painting by Archibald Willard, 1916.
Image used courtesy of the Herrick Memorial Library and Ohio Memory.
Archibald Willard, a native of northeast Ohio, is best known for the patriotic painting, The Spirit of '76, which he painted several versions of - the first being for the 1876 Columbian Exposition.
Willard's painting of Wellington illustrates a view of a city that still resembled a New England village, with rows of houses and a couple churches facing a central green. His vantage point was from the corner of Magyar Street, looking north on Main Street.
Wellington retains the village green, and some of the structures shown in the painting. Large trees now growing on the green prevent one from attempting to capture the same angle today.
Archibald Willard's rendering provides a way to visualize the historic appearance other town centers throughout the region.