Year 1910

Historic Preservation Commission
Responsible for safeguarding the City's historic and cultural heritage, and the development of public support and the location and identification of historic structures and historic distrricts. The Commission consists of seven members including one Council member. Members serve a three year term.

Historic Site

West High Murals

West High Murals

February 21, 1935 is an important date in the history of West High, for it marks the completion of the largest art project ever attempted in the school-the painting and hanging of five beautiful murals in the West High School Library. The artist, Lou Matthews Bedore has spent the greater part of ,two years painting the two large murals entitled Education and Recreation and three panels representing the fine arts Art, Literature, and Music.

The large mural on the west portrays Education, that irresistible power that stirs ambitions, stimulates ideals, and forges the keys that open the door to opportunity. In that painting, the central figure, Education, dressed in brilliant yellow to signify light and strength, is holding the banner over the figure of Inspiration seated on the winged white horse, Pegasus, symbol of poetry. The freshman boy carrying a book is looking up to Education for guidance; and the senior girl wearing the school colors, purple and white, is looking into the future. The figure in blue (symbol of truth) gazing into the open book on her lap represents Study. The old man dressed in brown carrying the scroll represents History. In the far background the typical covered wagon drawn by oxen represents past American History. The figure in the foreground with the dog and cat represents Kindness to Animals. The two youths with hands clasped signifying Brotherly Love form the friendship group. The small laurel plant in the corner within reach of the youths symbolizes achievement. The incompleted structure behind the boys represents the building of character. In direct contrast to the ancient architecture with its beautiful pillars and gilded dome stands modern architecture in its simplicity. The young man in his laboratory apron represents Science and Research. The love group consists of a young man caring for his aged mother. Here is well portrayed the deep religion of love. The two girls picking apples symbolize Industry and the Fruits of Labor. The dignified and intelligent looking man holding the large book stands for Law and Order.
Though the primary use of these murals is dec­orative, every color, figure, or line has a meaning. For example, the yellow cape of Inspiration stands out strikingly against the blue sky. Colors and lines balance perfectly; for example, the pink cape on the mother in the love group balances the pink dress of the small child in the group signifying kindness to animals. The horizontal lines of the buildings balance the vertical lines of the figures.

The painting on the east of the library, balancing "Education" on the west wall, is entitled "Recre­ation." Where the former picture was executed in straight lines and subdued colors typifying the more serious side of life, this companion picture is in brilliant hues typifying relaxation, joy, and a lighter vein in general. Here four major groups have been formed into a triangular pattern, reach­ing its apex in the sail of a yacht in the background. One consisting of a boy, a girl, and a dog symbol­izes the "Spirit of Youth," the dog in this group balancing the winged horse in the companion pic­ture. The second group consists of three musici­ans with banjo, mandolin, and flute and two singers. Then the third group depicts a Saturday afternoon family outing: the father is resting on the ground; the mother is reading; and the baby is play­ing between them. At the right is a picnic party with two girls eating and visiting, while the luncheon spread is disordered as is usually the case. Minor figures include a girl idly dreaming as she leans against a tree, and three athletes – two in West High track uniforms and one in the official West High baseball costume. All of these healthy looking athletes show excellent physiques thereby indicating the beneficial effects of sports upon those who participate in them.
Excellent examples of still life are furnished by the left-over bits of food, fruit – such as apples, grapes, melons,-and dishes on the white table cloth. Here again colors balance perfectly as in “Education." The crimson cape of the girl playing the banjo balances the red in the apple on the opposite side of the painting.
The three panels on the north wall represent fine arts, the central of which is the Literature panel. The central figure clad in yellow suggesting enlightenment is Literature. To her left stands Drama dressed in pink and carrying a mask. The purple-robed figure to the extreme left is Poetry, and Prose Literature in a deep rose-pink gown stands to the right of the central figure.

The panel to the left portrays Art in its three-fold nature. The central figure in the buff colored garment is Architecture; to the left in the colorful combination of buff and blue stands Sculpture; the figure to the right dressed in soft blue and green represents Painting.

To the right hangs the Music panel. Here the central figure in brown is Musical Composition. Vocal Music clad in bright blue stands to the left, with the suggestion of the piano keyboard in the background, while the figure to the right dressed in softer shades of blue and red carrying the violin is the personification of Instrumental Music.
The artist, Lou Matthews Bedore, is a member of the Chicago Association of Printers and Sculptors who received her training at the Chicago Art Institute, the Chicago Art Academy, and in the studio of Lorado Taft, where she assisted him in his work upon the well-known production, “The Fountain of Time.” She has studied extensively in Europe, having specialized in mural paintings under such masters as Fran Brangwyn and Max Bohm. She has traveled throughout the England, France, Italy, and Spain for the purpose of making a careful study of the mural decorations for which these countries are famous.
Mrs. Bedore has had exhibits in the Chicago Art Institute, in the Salon in Paris, in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and in special private exhibits at the Chicago Art Institute. She is the winner of the Rosenwald, the Harry O. Frank and the Municipal Art League Prized for outstanding paintings.
Many of Mrs. Bedores’s paintings can now be seen in the Rosenwald Collection, Chicago, in Judge Bartelmy’s room of the Chicago Juvenile Court Building, and in the Chicago Civic Collection. She has painted six large murals thirteen feet high in the auditorium of the Scott School in Chicago, and several of her portraits are to be found in private collections.

The murals are being presented as a gift to West High by her loyal students and alumni who during their school days earned the money for this purchase through “Snapshots”, “Out of the West,” “The Mural Fund Praline Sales Group,” and the graduating classes of 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1930, which contributed the proceeds from their respective class plays as memorial gifts to be used for the library murals.


West High Murals
West High Murals
West High Murals
West High Murals
West High Murals