Public Education and Awareness Award to the Yellow Table Committee, U.S. Postal Service, and
Parma Conservation for raising public awareness and appreciation of the 1943 Waverly Post Office
mural by Roy Best, Arrival of the Packet "The Wave," and the process of conserving it.
This spring, a newly formed group of Pike County citizens calling themselves the Yellow Table
Committee spearheaded a project that engaged the interest and pride of young and old alike. Working
with Waverly postmaster Larry Ballew and Thomas Schick, facilities engineer for the U.S. Postal
Service, the committee arranged for cleaning and conservation of the mural, Arrival of the Packet
"The Wave," which is in the Waverly Post Office. The New Deal mural, painted by resident Roy Best
in 1943, offers a lively record of yesteryear, when the Ohio & Erie Canal was a principal means
of transport through Waverly. Through the generosity of the Postal Service, which is celebrating
the 75th Anniversary of the New Deal, Elizabeth Kendall and Peter Schoenmann of Parma
Conservation erected scaffolding in the post office and worked inch by inch to remove the
yellowing, hard varnish, then restore the mural’s original vibrancy. Onlookers were awed as
gray skies became blue again and a tired gown was restored to its original delicate yellow. The
Yellow Table Committee describes its purpose as “citizens working together to enrich life in Pike
County for today and for generations to come.” In the mural project they especially sought to
engage the interest of school children. Packets of information on the mural, the artist, and the
New Deal were delivered to art and history teachers throughout the county, and Waverly High School
students prepared a DVD that was shown on local cable channels. Middle School Assistant Principal
Willie Hobbs brought a dozen energetic art students to observe the conservation process and ask
questions of the conservators. In addition, a letter drafted by the committee was sent to 200
community leaders; restaurants put “Catch The Wave” on their signs; and the local press carried
stories. The project could well be a model for other communities. Seeing the restoration in
progress can teach valuable concepts about art conservation, New Deal art, the importance of art
in general, and about our responsibility to care for art. And there are many more cities in
Ohio with New Deal murals that could be restored.
to return to the list of 2008 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.
for a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.