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Hallowell Elementary Mural

HPHA Executive Director Peter Choate has commissioned a mural at the new Hallowell Elementary School in honor of his late wife Margaret, depicting the history of Horsham Township.

This original mural was created by local artist Justine Musick. (see below) and was dedicated on October 27, 2017

The mural shows a timeline of the history of Horsham Township with significant events being shown in 'bubbles'. The 1st phase of the mural begins with native americans pre-1860s and takes us to the early 1900s and the founding of Standard Pressed Steel by Howard Hallowell in 1903.

Video below is from HHTV 10/2/2018

... more from the Hatboro-Horsham School District Website

Concept by Justine Musick

The mural begins with the Lenape Native Americans. The Lenape grew corn and other foods, which they could store for months. Girls and boys played a sport sort of like football. Whole sheets of bark were used to create the exterior of Wigwams, where people lived, and carefully constructed Longhouses were used for many activities such as drying food, sleeping, and sheltering multiple families. This will be depicted in the first large block of the mural. Next, smaller “bubbles” will be used to illustrate events. The first small bubble will show the Lenape people departing from their home in Horsham, and migrating to Canada and Oklahoma.

Artifacts of Lenape life are still preserved in the layers of earth beneath Horsham. Therefore, this mural will have a 3 in layer running along the base which serves as the ground in some scenes, but will be shown in section to reveal artifacts imbedded in the ground. This is an interesting way to “frame” the mural, and shows how history is tied to places, and can be discovered. (read more about discovering artifacts from Howard Hallowell)

photo of mural showing native American artifacts

The next bubble shows an image of a cabin, meant to be the first cabin built in the area.

After that is the first Holmes Map, which was used to show land ownership, not so much the specific geography of the area. Nonetheless, these two events re-established the area, and set the foundation for a community to develop.

After that is the first Holmes Map, which was used to show land ownership, not so much the specific geography of the area. Nonetheless, these two events re-established the area, and set the foundation for a community to develop.

This next piece depicts the early 1700’s. The Horsham Friends Meeting House was originally built from wood, and other necessities were quickly built such as a cemetery, school, food garden, etc. This meeting house is where the first marriage took place, which shows how young people started to create their own personal histories in this developing place. After the death of William Penn, Hannah Penn became the first female governor. This part of the painting depicts Hannah Penn in the back ground, discussing documents.

photo Horsham Friends on Hallowell Elementary School Historical Mural

The following set of bubbles spans a large time frame. The first is the U.S. minted silver dollars. Before the U.S. Mint started producing money, people used whatever they happened to have, including European coins from a variety of countries. People lived a lifestyle in which they produced the things they needed, and then would trade for the things they lacked. They used both trading and money for many years, but having a U.S. money system has really changed our day to day lives!

painting of silver coins on  Hallowell Historical Mural

Slaves were present in Horsham until at least 1777 when it was noted that oxen and a slave were taken by General Wayne's Army from Graeme Park after the army camped there in 1777. The new commonwealth of Pennsylvania abolished slavery in 1780. During the time of the civil war, the country was divided on the issue of slavery. Many enslaved black people traveled a dangerous journey from southern states, which advocated for a slave economy, to northern Union states which wanted to abolish slavery as a commodity. The route which people traveled to reach the north had many stops, and was called the “Underground Railroad”. It had stops right here in Horsham, where some farmers hid the runaways. It was illegal to shelter and aid any runaway slave. The North won the civil war, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and blacks and whites were all free in this country. It would be a long time before all people were equal, however, the Underground Railroad marks a major shift in history, and Horsham was a part of that.

Bubble showing 2 slaves holding each other on Hallowell Elementary School Mural

Finally, there is a portrait of Howard Hallowell sitting with his steel hanger in the background. Hallowell grew up in Horsham on his father’s farm, and they were a very important part of this community! Their farm expanded far, and as a boy Howard worked incredibly hard tending the farm and going to the markets. He eventually went to college and did extremely well, which surprised many people who didn’t expect a farmer to be so successful in mechanics. He developed a pressed steel hanger, and his company Standard Pressed Steel, in 1903. SPS quickly grew into a major company.

painting of Howard T Hallowell with press steel hanger as shown on Hallowell Elementary Historical Mural

Justine Musick

Justine Musick is a graduate of Archbishop Wood High School, and Temple University. She has trained in painting throughout her entire childhood, and continued her studies by spending a year in the Fine Arts program at Bucks County Community College. After this, she entered into the Architectural Preservation program at the Tyler School of Arts, and added an additional focus on Anthropology. Justine graduated with a B.S. in Architectural Preservation. The lens of Anthropology through which she conducted her preservation studies, has given her a unique perspective on heritage management, history, and community development.

In addition to creating the mural at Hallowell she has also been working with HPHA on our document preservation project. She also exhibited her original artwork here at the Penrose Strawbridge House in November 2017. You can see more of her work on etsy.

photo of Justine Musick working on Hallowell Elementary Historical Mural

Hallowell Historical Exhibit

In addition to the Hallowell Mural, HPHA - along with the Wings of Freedom Museum and the Millbrook Society - created an exhibit of artifacts to be displayed at Hallowell Elementary School.

more on the Historical Exhibit at Hallowell

photo of diploma from Horsham Public Schools in Hallowell Elementary School historical exhibit

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