By Emily Strab (View full story online on Hyattsville Life and Times)
“What’s going to happen to the mural? That used to be our bank. They gave us our loan to buy [our] house,” commented Helen Butt.
Many residents received their first loans for the houses they still own in Hyattsville through Maryland Federal Savings and Loan, and saw the mural each time they banked there over many years. The mural, which still hangs in its original location behind the tellers’ counter, was commissioned by the president of Maryland Federal Savings and Loan, Hammond Welsh, in 1971. Maryland Federal Savings and Loan was established in Hyattsville in 1887. Welsh told Egeli that he wanted the mural to depict the story of his grandfather’s first loan in 1887. The man on horseback is the bank’s founder, waving to the family that received the bank’s first loan. The house and family depicted are pure fantasy, but helped realize the story that Welsh’s grandfather had passed down. Egeli recounted, “As an artist, it was hard to get a loan in those days. So, in return for painting the mural, Welsh personally made sure I received a loan from the bank.”
The mural will be removed for restoration while renovation on the building is taking place. Its location in the building upon its return is not yet decided. Many would like to see it in the lobby, but it may be hung in one of the community rooms. The artist, Egeli, mentioned he would like for it to stay in the spot it was painted for, but current plans have that space dedicated to communications and records, so it is unlikely that the public would get to view the mural if it is returned to its original location.