State magazine features Portsmouth murals

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 14, 2007


— The Portsmouth Floodwall Murals are going to be featured in the magazine, Our Ohio.

According to information from the magazine’s publisher, readers will learn how a Portsmouth couple, Dr. Louis and Ava Chaboudy were inspired after a trip to create Portsmouth Murals, Inc., a volunteer, nonprofit organization that solicits financial aid from individuals, corporations and state agencies to fund the design and execution of floodwall murals.

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Bob Morton, the president of the board of trustees of Portsmouth Murals, Inc., said they “stole the idea from Steubenville.”

“Steubenville was one of the first to have murals as a tourist attraction,” he said. The mural group hired the person who oversaw the Steubenville murals and in 1991 began the first of paintings.

The organization hired Robert Dafford, an experienced muralist who has spent the last 15 years designing and painting the Portsmouth murals.

The colorful and intricately detailed pictures depict 2,000 years of the river town’s past, starting with the Mound Builders and ending with a twilight image of modern-day Portsmouth as seen from Kentucky.

The murals have been successful in attracting tourism and having a strong economic impact on Portsmouth.

Besides being in Our Ohio magazine, the murals recently got a boost from nationally syndicated comic strip Flo and Friends, which last Sunday featured a character wearing a T-shirt that reads “I saw the murals of Portsmouth, Oh.”

“I don’t know how the woman who draws it knew about Portsmouth murals, but I hope to solve the mystery when she gets back from vacation,” Morton said. “So we have all sorts of neat things happening.”

Besides the murals that run along the flood wall on Front Street, a recent mural that shows baseball players who came from the area and a new mural is being painted on Second Street as visitors enter Portsmouth from the Carl Perkins Bridge. The mural is dedicated to the bicycle riders who participate in The Tour of the Scioto River Valley, a 200-mile ride from Columbus to Portsmouth every May.

“This way when (people) enter Portsmouth, they will see the mural,” Morton said. “It is quite impressive.”

To learn more about the magazine Our Ohio, readers can visit, the magazine’s Web site. To see a virtual tour of the floodwall murals, visit To see the Flo and Friends cartoon, visit