Story unfolds of local man in the mural

By BRIAN GRAVES Staff Writer
Posted 9/4/17

The work done in a foundry, a factory that produces metal castings, was and still is a hot and sweaty job.

It is an occupation that has played an important part in the lives of many who have …

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Story unfolds of local man in the mural

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The work done in a foundry, a factory that produces metal castings, was and still is a hot and sweaty job.

It is an occupation that has played an important part in the lives of many who have resided in the Cleveland and Bradley County area for decades.

It was the photograph of one of those workers that inspired a recent mural to be painted in the Blythe-Bower neighborhood community.

Located at the intersection of 9th Street and Wildwood Avenue, the new painting dominates one of the major intersections of the Blythe-Oldfield area.

“We wanted to incorporate art into the revitalization process of Blythe-Oldfield and Southeast Cleveland,” said Dustin Toomey, executive director of Impact Cleveland at the time. “This location is really a gateway and a key intersection of the neighborhood. We wanted to do something here that represented the history of the neighborhood and the character of the neighborhood.”

The image is an artistic interpretation of an archival photograph from the Museum Center at Five Points collection.

It was believed the gentleman was someone who worked at Hardwick Stove.

“Our artist, Kevin Bate, went through the photographic archives concerning industry at the Museum Center at Five Points and this gentleman struck him as being symbolic of what we were trying to represent — grit, determination, courage and hard work,” Toomey said.

The full story of who that gentleman was, and where he worked, has now been fully revealed.

After the initial story about the mural was published in the Cleveland Daily Banner, the museum was contacted by Matthew Brown, who found the face familiar.

The picture was of Carl Whitworth and was taken in the 1970s by his nephew who worked at the Banner.

“Carl Whitworth started at Brown Stove Works in 1942, and worked as a molder until we closed the foundry in 1972,” Brown said. “He worked in packout until he retired in 1982. He then served as a security guard until he was 91 and passed away shortly thereafter.”

Brown added Whitworth was “proud of the fact that he worked for four generations of the Brown family.”

“We were honored to have him as a friend and co-worker who humbly, but enthusiastically, embraced each day,” Brown said.

Toomey said he was ecstatic the man in the mural has been identified.

“To place a name and history to this face enhances the meaning to the community even more,” Toomey said.

He noted there was never any intention to slight Whitworth nor Brown Stove Works.

“Mr. Whitworth’s story is exactly the type of story we wanted to represent when we did the mural,” Toomey said. “The Blythe-Bower community is full of individuals thoughout the years whose hard work and perseverance deserve to be recognized and appreciated. Carl Whitworth’s story is one which is worthy to represent those values we want to replicate in today’s generation.”

Toomey said he hopes to reach out to the Brown family to learn more about Whitworth and perhaps plan something special that will ensure the man in the mural’s identity will not be lost to history.

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