VICTOR - A mural completed last week by students at the Victor School shows that sometimes history just comes to life.
And while this project got a random start when art teacher Jennifer Ogden stumbled on an old photograph of workers at Marcus Daly's Stock Farm, the student work will itself become part of valley history when it goes on permanent display at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds, starting with a dedication ceremony at Bitterroot Glory Days over the July 4 weekend.
"We're thrilled that the art teacher, along with the students, have teamed up with us to create this piece," said Deborah Rogala, Ravalli County Fairgrounds manager. "It's a really great thing that the school can be a part of a project like this."
Rogala said, though she and the fair board have yet to pick a place in the fairgrounds to display the colorful six-panel mural, Bitterroot Glory Days will mark its debut.
The timing will be fitting, since the July 2-4 event is intended to recall simpler days with an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration.
The panorama depicts a group of workers posing for a photograph in front of a Stock Farm building, with Marcus Daly himself sitting astride a fence beside a thoroughbred and backed by Bitterroot Mountains.
Ogden said she saw the photograph of the workers posing at the Stock Farm at the One-Hour Photo Plus shop, where it was displayed with a group of frames that were on sale.
Ogden said she thought it was such an interesting historical document that she began to wonder how she might incorporate the visual idea into something bigger.
After connecting with Ravalli County Fairgrounds, which paid for some of the materials, Ogden said she set about putting her students to work on a project to make a mural around the information in the photo.
"I was feeling a mural coming on," she said. "And we had a meeting of the minds. Deb [Rogala] has a school background and knew how great this could be.... And these students rose to the occasion."
Ogden said, with some additional guidance from Victor trustee Steve Wilson, she had 26 students working several days a week during the spring trimester.
"They did have fun with it," she said of the group that mainly consisted of seventh and eighth graders.
The finished product and the history it depicts now has people wondering just who were these people working at the Stock Farm near end of the 19th century.
The photograph and its subsequent rending in the mural have piqued some curiosity, Rogala said.
"We don't really know a whole lot about this point in [Stock Farm] history," she said. "So it'd be really neat if anyone from the community wanted to step up with any information they may have about these folks."
Reporter Sepp Jannotta can be reached at 363-3300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.