Vermilion Postcard Project

“A Busy Day on the Lagoons” – In the early 20th century, the Vermilion Lagoons was a low-lying swamp. In 1929, it began its transformation into a residential community. Today the neighborhood consists of 160 Cape Cod-style houses with docks.

Public art enthusiasts looking for a beautiful autumn drive that takes you to the shores of Lake Erie should check out Public Art Vermilion’s award-winning Postcard Project.

Featuring 15 mural-sized postcards of nostalgic scenes of Vermilion, Ohio, The Postcard Project offers a map of the postcards in a history-filled tour guide of the project. Public Art Vermilion, a program of Main Street Vermilion, also announced a selfie contest inviting visitors to vote for their favorite postcard. To participate, visitors should take a photo of themselves in front of their favorite postcard, post it to Facebook or Instagram, and tag it with #PublicArtVermilion.

All of the postcards in the project were hand-painted on 5×8-foot boards in oil by Amherst, Ohio artists Mike Sekletar and Brian Goodwin, and feature scenes from vintage postcards, some dating back more than 100 years ago. The scenes were selected from close to 10,000 postcards that were loaned to the project by Vermilion residents.

Many of the most popular postcards depict sites that no longer exist, such as the “Crystal Beach Ballroom” which was well-known in its day for hosting Guy Lombardo, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lawrence Welk, and other Big Bands of the era, but was torn down when Crystal Beach Park closed in 1962. Others are a delightful combination of “then and now” such as “Night View of Liberty Street Looking East,” depicting some storefronts that still exist today.

The Postcard Project recently was recognized statewide by Heritage Ohio with the Best Main Street Committee Project Award as part of Ohio Preservation Month in October. The project was recognized for combining history, art and community engagement.

The Postcard Project Tour Guide, available at Main Street Vermilion’s office at 685 Main Street in Vermilion, is available for a suggested donation. The 16-page booklet has a map of locations for all 15 postcards, including a walkable tour of 10 postcards located in historic downtown Vermilion with stores and restaurants to enjoy along the way.

Public Art Vermilion is a program of Main Street Vermilion, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the revitalization, beautification and preservation of historic downtown Vermilion. For more information on Main Street Vermilion visit www.mainstreetvermilion.org.

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