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Leeper Hotel Subject of New Mural
By Angie Talken, CT 04 29 19

There is a new mural taking shape in Chillicothe. Last week, Jacob Duncan began drawing the design on the south side of the Klinginsmith Building, just north of Webster Street.

Ben White executive director of Main Street Chillicothe says this mural follows the theme of the other 24 outside murals in downtown Chillicothe. "All of the murals themselves are centralized on Livingston County history," he said. "We have and have seen a lot of success in tourism and this mural plays into that too." The mural features, Leeper Hotel, which White described as a "lost building - a lost piece of history." On Sept. 28, 2010, the Constitution-Tribune reported online that, "After decades of indecision involving the old vacant Leeper hotel building in downtown Chillicothe, City Council members unanimously voted to have the structure razed." During demolition in 2012 the building caught fire and closed Washington Street for more than two hours while fire crews from Chillicothe, Trenton and Carrollton fought the flames. The fire was later ruled accidental.

PHOTO: The outline of the various scenes of the Leeper Hotel have been drawn on the side of the Klinginsmith Building. This week, Jacob Duncan, artist will begin painting the newest mural in Chillicothe. [JENETTA CRANMER/CT PHOTO]

The Leeper Hotel was a four-story brick L-shaped structure built on the Livingston County Courthouse square in 1884 by Andrew C. Leeper and his business partner, Sidney McWilliams. The fourth story was added about 1915, and the hotel was remodeled in 1929 when the entire facade was rebuilt with red brick and stone. It was the oldest hotel in Chillicothe - the only one of its kind in the square's historic district - and was first known as the Leeper House.

The mural will include a couple renderings of the hotel from the 1800s and the 1960s. This mural will be the first done in Chillicothe since the death of Kelly Poling, the artist who put Chillicothe on the map for its numerous murals downtown. White said that Duncan, from Lawson, has a very similar style to Poling's. "He was recommended to us from another Main Street Community; and after speaking with him and seeing his style, we feel very comfortable asking him to do this mural for us," White said. Painting of the mural, should begin this week, and White said it should be completed within a month.

The Main Street Chillicothe Board is considering adding other murals to the downtown area. White said the board is confident they will have the subject of future murals and the funding in place to have another completed in 2020.

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