WPA Murals in Danger in Orangetown, NY

WPA murals in the Children’s Building of the Rockland Sate Hospital, built in 1929, are in danger of being destroyed.  The main mural, the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by 1930’s artist Victor Pedrotti Trent, 1941, is 4’ x 100’ on four walls, with a fifth mural possibly done by another artist.

mural, Orangetown NY 1941, unkn artist

The building is closed and folks in the community desire to get the murals out prior to a developer knocking it down.   Rockland State Hospital was a large psychiatric facility owned by the State of New York, which once housed 9,000 patients and 2,000 staff.  The Children’s Building housed the care area for the children of employees.  The school building may be a WPA grade school built in 1939.

The hospital is now down to only 400 patients housed in two main buildings and the City is trying to sell the facility.  The buildings have asbestos in them so most if not all will be demolished. There is some talk of making it into a Senior Living Center complex . While the City owns the buildings, it is not clear who owns the murals or who has the authority to  “sell or transfer” them elsewhere.

Local officials want to save the murals if possible, but the estimated cost would be $100,000 to move and restore them.  A less desirable solution is to have the murals photographed and place the photographs in some other local site prior to demolition.  A video documentary about the Trent murals was filmed by local residents.

For more information, contact Robert Harmon, National New Deal Preservation Association member,  [email protected], 614-486-3029, or City Museum Director and Town Historian Mary Cardenas,  845-398-1302

is Project Manager for The Living New Deal. He is a trained cultural historian who teaches courses in U.S. History at the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University.

2 comments on “WPA Murals in Danger in Orangetown, NY

  1. denise sullivan

    owned by the State of New York not the City

    The Town of Orangetown now owns the property. Mary Cardenas is the Town historian

    • Gabriel Milner

      Thank you for this clarification. We’ve gone ahead and edited this entry to reflect the correct info.

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