After I left the graffiti mural called the “Native American Tribute Wall,” I looked at Google maps on my phone again to try to get an idea where it might be a good idea to go looking for art. I saw something called the “Waterfront Park,” and not knowing what it was, decided to go have a look. On my way there, as I was driving along Cass Street, and as I crossed 3rd Street continuing on Cass towards 2nd Street, I happened upon another fantastic huge mural, this one depicting baseball images. I stopped to get out, and as I went to take my first picture, noticed that the top of the mural had barbed wire, and then noticed the guard tower … it was on a prison wall, which made the cheerful baseball scene seem somewhat surreal.
I found out later that this is the New Jersey State Prison, formerly known as the Trenton State Prison, and was the one-time home to New Jersey’s death row, until the state banned capital punishment in 2007. An ironic coincidence is that one of the prisoners once housed here was Bruno Hauptmann, for the infamous kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s toddler son. The irony is that this crime greatly affected the family of J. Seward Johnson, the founder of Grounds For Sculpture, which is where this whole “Adventure #1″ started. As the story goes, in 1932, just weeks after the Charles Lindbergh baby was kidnapped in nearby Hopewell NJ, an intruder tried to break into the nursery at the Johnson family’s New Brunswick mansion. A nurse who was caring for J. Seward Johnson’s baby sister Diana heard a noise and screamed for Seward Sr. He came in with a gun and shot the intruder in the leg, and the intruder was arrested later (it wasn’t Hauptmann, but was perhaps done as an attempted copycat crime). But it so greatly affected the Seward family that Seward Sr. became obsessed about security.
But back to the mural … I can’t find any information on who painted this or when … if anyone knows these answers, please add your comments below.
After photographing this mural, I got back in the car and proceeded to Waterfront Park, which I then discovered was the location for the Trenton minor league baseball team, the Trenton Thunder. There wasn’t much else at the park other than the stadium and the parking lot, so I tried to figure out where to go looking for art next, which will take us to Chapter 9 …