Essex Street Gateway Community Mural


Artist(s): Meg Saligman Studio and Haverhill community
Sponsor(s): Team Haverhill

Audio Tour (Also available in Spanish)

View the Interactive Guide to this Mural

The Design

The earliest concept for the mural came from the location itself, the site of the Orpheum Theater owned by Louis B. Mayer in 1907. Meg Saligman, of MLS Studio, expanded on this idea to illustrate the inside of a movie theater as a setting for the people of Haverhill’s past, present and future to be seated watching a film on a movie screen, while all around them are symbols of the city’s history.

Images in the Mural

Louis B. Mayer is featured prominently in the first row looking outward from the mural at the viewer. He is surrounded by other renowned people who have called Haverhill their home, and others who live here in the present and represent the community. These include:

  • Passaconaway, great chief of the Pennacook Indian tribe, who was said to have magical powers to make rocks move, trees dance and water burn
  • John Quincy Adams, who presented Haverhill’s Abolitionist Petition to Congress
  • Rowland Macy, Louis Hamel and Stuart Weitzman: entrepreneurs in business
  • Cora Chase, Tom Bergeron and Rob Zombie: performers/entertainers
  • Stuart Chase, economist and key advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and who was the source of the political term, “New Deal”
  • Frances Cole Lee, beloved teacher
  • Sidney Mason, Haverhill’s first African-American fireman
  • Bob Montana, creator of Archie comic books
  • Gene Goodreault, Mike Ryan and Carlos Peña: famous sports figures
  • Andre Dubus II and Andre Dubus III: acclaimed novelists
  • Barney Gallagher, Leota C. Bailey and Kalister Green-Byrd: “unsung” individuals who contribute to “the heart and soul” of the city
  • “Haverhill’s Oldest Resident”, the endangered Shortnose Sturgeon, which return each spring to spawn in the bend of the Merrimack River
  • “The Ulysses”, an 18th century ship built in Haverhill and saved from shipwreck through her crew’s ingenuity and perseverance
  • One of Haverhill’s younger residents stepping into the theater as a symbol of the city’s future

A full and annotated legend of the mural design was published on the occasion of the dedication of the mural. This document serves as an artistic, historical and educational guide for decades to come. (Mural Design Key)

Additional information is available at


25 Essex Street (North wall)
Get directions to this location