Gore's "lost mural" featured in Summer Quarterly

SAYRE - A ten-panel mural that once decorated the lobby of the Wilbur Hotel in Sayre created by local artist M.L. Gore is the subject of a story in the Sayre Historical Society Quarterly magazine.

CAPTION: Valley artist M. Louis Gore is the subject of a feature story in the Sayre Historical Society's latest Quarterly history magazine. The story focuses on Gore's "lost mural" at the Wilbur Hotel in Sayre.

The "lost mural" featured local scenes such as the Robert Packer Hospital, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Shops, Belle Knitting and Ingersoll-Rand, as well as the Ulster totem pole, Turn-of-the-Rocks and "the crest looking toward Towanda." Numerous photographs and sketches created by Gore were donated recently to the Sayre Historical Society by Frank Evans of Sayre.

The Sayre High School Class of 1967 is the featured photograph in the center section of the booklet which also includes the 1907 obituary of Sayre's namesake, Robert H. Sayre, and a story on the scale model steam locomotive named "Donald" built in the early 1900's by railroad engineer Michael Gorman.

The Quarterly, published four times a year, is mailed to historical society members as part of their membership benefits. Individual copies are available at Carl's News Stand in Sayre and the historical society museum located in the former Lehigh Valley Railroad Passenger Station in downtown Sayre. Hours are Saturdays from 10 to 4 and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m.

The story on Gore outlines the life of the well-known artist whose work is preserved in numerous paintings in private collections as well as the mural in Sayre High School depicting Shepard's mill in Sayre.

Gore was born on February 4, 1877 in Sheshequin and was a descendent of Judge Obadiah Gore who served under General John Sullivan during the Revolutionary War.

"While a young man, Gore spent time abroad studying and returned to the U.S. where he became employed by J.R. Myers in Steubenville, Ohio," according to the Quarterly article. "In that capacity, Gore did mural and decorating work in churches, theaters and libraries from the midwest to the eastern seaboard," according to his December 30, 1967 obituary.

An undated newspaper clipping included in the sketches and photographs donated by Evans documents the Wilbur Hotel mural which was completed in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The clipping states that the work took about six months to complete and that pictures of the mural sections "would easily pass for pictures of the actual scenes." It was stated that Robert Adams, proprietor of the landmark Sayre hotel, was planning "extensive improvements in the lobby to have it in keeping with the beauty of the murals," according to the undated newspaper article.

In his full life, Gore participated in excavations at local prehistoric Indian sites including Spanish Hill. In 1951, Gore was the official advisor to the National Geographic Society during its expedition down the Susquehanna River commemorating General Sullivan's military campaign.

"Mr. Gore was soundly grounded in local history and was contacted by many persons interested in the historical background of this community," stated the obituary. "Until his last illness, he was adding to his collection of over 2,000 rare books among which are a predominant number covering the early history of Pennsylvania and Bradford County."

The Class of 1967 photograph was made available by the Sayre Area School District Archives and includes the names of each of the graduates. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1967.

The model of Lehigh Valley Railroad steam locomotive No. 218 has an interesting history which is recounted in the Quarterly. It was recently loaned to the Sayre Historical Society by Mick Koons of Pasadena, California, the great-grandson of Michael Gorman, the model builder who was also an engineer on the railroad. The name of the model memorializes Mr. Gorman's young son, who died in 1909 at the tender age of five due to complications from Scarlet Fever.

The model has been displayed in a number of places along the route of the railroad. According to the Nov. 27, 1975 Star-Gazette, "It’s been a feature at a model railroaders convention in Niagara Falls, at the former Interstate Fair in Athens, in Cortland, at the Wagner Hotel in Waverly, in New York City several times, and in Ithaca, Buffalo, Lehigh headquarters at Bethlehem, Allentown and in Milwaukee, Wis., among other places." It 1991, it was displayed at the first Sayre History Fair at Sayre High School.

A final feature of the Summer Quarterly are two scrapbooks items from the Robert Felt Collection. Seaman Second Class John Cannavino was one of five sons of Mr. and Mrs. John Cannavino of Sayre in the service. He participated in the Allied invasion of Normandy. Naval Aviation Cadet John Luczejko, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Luczejko of Riverside Drive, Sayre was taking primary flight instruction in the Glenview, Ill. Naval Air Station.

A World War II-era poster for a block dance to benefit the Sayre Canteen and a 1953 local advertisement complete the issue.

A Genealogy Workshop is scheduled for Saturday, July 29 at the Sayre museum featuring local historian Henry Farley, president of the Bradford County Historical Society. A variety of resources including local directories, yearbooks, scrapbooks and railroad rosters will be available for research. Admission is free.

The Sayre Historical Society is a member-supported, non-profit organization and a recipient of funding from the United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.

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