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Volume 9, Issue 9
September 2011

Historic mural for Leedy Grange Hall
By Virginia Bruce

Starting on September 12, artist Leslie Peterson will be painting a mural on the front wall of the Leedy Grange Hall on Saltzman, just north of Cornell. The image will be a life-size interpretation of a photo of Grange members standing in front of this very building in 1908.

The building now occupied by Leedy Grange was originally constructed in 1903 by The Modern Woodmen of America. Leedy Grange, named after the founder of the Grange in Oregon, had been chartered in 1903 and the group was meeting in members' homes until they purchased the building in 1906.

Leedy Grange Mural
This is a sketch of the mural that will be painted on the Grange Hall. The background will be the existing paint color. Leslie is adding touches of color to the original black & white image.

Leslie Peterson grew up in a historic farmhouse in Cedar Mill. Her mother, Sue Conger, was very active in community improvement and was involved in starting the library. Sue also had a deep interest in local history, and was instrumental in saving the JQA Young House.

Leslie studied art in New York City and graduated with honors from Queens College at CUNY in 1991. She returned to Oregon and, after years of experimenting with artistic styles, has found her inspiration using photographs as a starting point for paintings. What a perfect match for Cedar Mill's first historic mural!

She agreed to take on the project, and helped to write a proposal for a grant from the Washington County Cultural Coalition (WCCC, to cover the cost of the work. We were excited to find out that we had been awarded $500 in July.

Leedy Grange 1908
The original 1908 photo, courtesy of the Findley family. HR Findley is at upper left.

We soon realized that we would need to do something about one of the windows on the building if the image was to be life-size. The right window let into a closet, so it was not really needed. Grange members agreed to have it removed, and A Cut Above Exteriors did the work pro bono earlier this summer. A volunteer will repaint the wall so it matches before Leslie begins to work on the mural.

Miller Paints is donating the paint for the mural, and manager Michael Coats has been working with Leslie to choose the best paints for the project. An anonymous donor provided funds for the very necessary graffiti-protective coating. (You'd be surprised at the variety of mischief the building has been subject to!)

Part of Leslie's approach is to let the background surface show through. She notes on her blog ( that, "my technique is based on pared-down simplicity. The images are…boldly drawn. I paint thinly, and I try to keep the drawing visible if possible." Although the original photo is of course in black and white, Leslie will add touches of color to the faces and clothing to warm up the image. It will also incorporate the information that is currently on the metal sign above, and the logos of the donor businesses and WCCC.

This is the first in a series of murals depicting Cedar Mill history to be painted on buildings throughout the community as an ongoing project of the Cedar Mill Historical Society. Contact Virginia Bruce if you are interested in participating:

To see more of Leslie's paintings, visit her website: For more information about Leedy Grange, see our website at



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Published monthly by Pioneer Marketing & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291