Study for "Black River Canal--1845"

Boonville Mural.jpg

Dublin Core


Study for "Black River Canal--1845"


Along with her sister Suzanne, McCullough was commissioned by the Treasury Section of Fine Arts to create a mural for the Boonville, NY post office (constructed in 1937). This 1838 study for the larger mural, completed the next year, is the same in most of its features. The mother and daughter have their bonnets removed, the better to see their faces, and the baskets of agricultural bounty have grown--perhaps a comment upon scarcity during the Great Depression.

In 1828 a proposed Black River Canal was surveyed as to branch off the successful Erie Canal, extending from Rome, NY north toward the St. Lawrence River. It was thought that lower-cost transportation would aid in economic development of communities in Lewis, Herkimer, and St. Lawrence counties. Construction was completed by 1855: 35 miles of canal, and another 40 miles of navigable waters along the Black River to the village of Carthage. But maintenance costs and competition from railroads made the canal unprofitable and in 1900 it was abandoned north of Boonville, NY and completed shut down in 1925. Thus, the McCulloughs' mural looks back to a relatively recent past in Boonville.


McCullough, Lucerne




Cooper, Ken


Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the Internal Revenue Service through the General Services Administration


jpeg, 863 KB


Still image

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Tempera painting

Physical Dimensions

9 x 26 in.