“The Blueprint,” a large-scale architectural drawing that has adorned the side of a building at 48 Free St. in Portland for 30 years, was covered in scaffolding and demolished Friday. It may not be replaced.

Scarborough artist Chris Denison installed the artwork for the building’s previous owner in 1986. He said the current owners contacted him a month or so ago about repainting the mural, but he hasn’t heard back.

“I certainly offered to do it again and I gave them a ballpark quote – and haven’t heard a word since,” he said. “I don’t know if it scared the hell out of them.”

Chris Denison installed the mural for the building’s previous owner in 1986. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Chris Denison installed the mural for the building’s previous owner in 1986. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The building is owned by J.B. Brown & Sons. CEO Vincent P. Veroneau could not be reached Friday to discuss his plan for the building and whether the mural will be replaced.

The building is being repaired to fix moisture damage, a tenant said. Crews recently installed scaffolding and were seen removing material from the side of the building on Friday, taking large sections of the mural with them.

Workers are now repairing moisture damage on the building. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Workers are now repairing moisture damage on the building. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

That was distressing to Susan Roux, who operates Roux and Cyr International Fine Art Gallery on the first floor of 48 Free St., on the opposite side of the building from the mural.

“I love the mural,” she said. “It’s a landmark. We’re so sad it’s coming down. I can’t believe they can’t rectify the problem without taking the mural down.”

Portland resident Fran Houston had a similar reaction.

“I love seeing that,” Houston said of the mural. “It’s big and different. It’s something I wouldn’t like to be without.”

Denison, who painted murals on the sides of buildings at Tommy Park in the Old Port, has painted 48 Free St. twice. He painted it originally in 1986 as a blueprint – light blue paper with fuzzy blue lines – and again in the 1990s with white paper and sharp black lines to reflect changes in the way building plans are drawn.

 


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