Questions about ownership of wall stymie efforts to repair landmark mural in Logansport

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LOGANSPORT, Indiana — It's still not clear who to go to about preserving an artistic landmark in Logansport's downtown as community members continue to work toward a solution.

The Iron Horse train mural has overlooked the corner of East Market and Third streets in Logansport for about the past decade. It was painted by a former Logansport High School art teacher, funded by donors and grants and spearheaded by a collaboration of local nonprofits including the Logansport Art Association, present-day Cass County Arts Alliance and Logan's Landing.

Now the mural's concrete-like base is cracking throughout and breaking off toward the bottom.

Logansport Building Commissioner Bill Drinkwine and members of local nonprofits recently started searching for information revealing who is responsible for the mural, the wall or both in order to get permission to make the repairs.

The mural is on a wall abutting the east wall of Leather or Knot Antiques on East Market Street. It overlooks a lot operated by Superior Auto. The owners of both properties say they do not own the wall.

A 10-year easement agreement was prepared in 2003 regarding the installation, use, maintenance and view of the mural. It was between the Logansport Art Association and Ray and Bonnie Brumbaugh, a Delphi couple who owns the lot leased by Superior Auto, the Pharos-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1l8vjpY ).

Although an easement agreement with the Brumbaughs was necessary for the completion of the mural, Ray Brumbaugh said he does not own the wall. The document represented his permission to the Logansport Art Association to use the Superior Auto lot for the preparation and installation of the mural, he said, and his assurance he would not allow the mural to be blocked by banners or signs.

Rich Pattee, co-owner of Leather or Knot Antiques, said he doesn't own it either, citing the way it abuts his building rather than serves as its exterior wall and the way it differs in brick color, architectural standards and height. He added it remains from the building that formerly bordered his property before it was demolished in the 1960s.

One thing everyone agrees on is the importance of preserving the mural.

"I don't want to see it gone," Pattee said. "If they can repair it — fine. I think it adds something to the town."

Brumbaugh said he would be willing to permit the use of his lot again for future efforts to fix the painting.

"I'm cooperative," he said. "I'm very reasonable."


Information from: Pharos-Tribune, http://www.pharostribune.com

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