WATCHUNG, NJ — The “Legend of Watchung” mural was safely removed from Sears after the store closed for good earlier this week after more than 50 years on Route 22 .
"The mural has been removed today and is being shipped to Philly for storage," Watchung Planning Board Chair Tracee Schaefer said at the start of Tuesday's meeting where Seritage was given final site plan approval for the Sears property. "Thank you to Mr. McNamara and Seritage who made a generous donation."
For most of the year, the Historical Committee has been researching the feasibility of removing the mural of the Legend of Watchung and how to preserve and relocate it. During many visits to the mural with a variety of art experts, they learned that removing the painting would be a daunting and expensive task. A feasibility study by Materials Conservation, a company experienced in preservation, estimates the cost for removal, restoration and preservation to be about $40,000.
There is still work to be done, and the exact home for the mural is still unknown. Donations are being accepted for its restoration and conservation and are tax deductible.
Donations can be made by check to the Watchung Community Foundation, 15 Mountain Boulevard Watchung, NJ 07069 or via GoFundMe at The Watchung Community Foundation is Seeking Donations for Saving a Historic Painting.