PORT ANGELES — A 60-foot-long maritime mural harkening to Port Angeles Harbor’s glory years has made its debut at 125 W. Front St.
Monday morning, a crew including sign artist and muralist Jackson Smart and artist-sculptor Bob Stokes began handing down from the roof, then hanging and bolting 15 aluminum composite panels, each 4 feet by 10 feet, on the west side of the shuttered 90-year-old brick building.
The building housed Station 51 Tap House, which closed Oct. 14 and was formerly Zaks.
Piece by piece Monday, the past unfolded on the brick wall, about 20 feet from ground level, in the downtown waterfront’s bracing, misty air until the complete picture graced the facade at about 5 p.m.
It depicts a composite scene of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet circa 1895-1935, as painted by Smart and Stokes in Stokes’ Studio Bob downtown gallery-performance space from historical material provided by the Clallam County Historical Society.
Hidden from ongoing westbound traffic per late building owner Pete Capos’ will, the mural shows between 50 and 60 ships anchored inside one of the deepest natural harbors on the West Coast.
It depicts the USS Saratoga, among the nation’s first aircraft carriers; the USS Arizona, of later Pearl Harbor demise; the battleship USS Missouri, of Big Mo fame; and the USS Constitution, a three-masted heavy frigate launched in 1797 and, as depicted in the mural, on a world tour, Smart said Monday.
“Every summer the fleet was here,” Stokes said.
It also includes, in the lower corner, the late Capos brothers Pete, Angelo, Jerry and Nick.
Pete and Angelo were in the Navy, Jerry was a Bremerton shipyards supervisor and Nick was an Army doctor, Smart said.
Their sister, Tina Capos, who still lives in Port Angeles, supplied photographs of her brothers for the project.
“That was real instrumental,” Stokes said.
Pete Capos’ family corporation Angeles Properties LLC owns the brick building, constructed in 1928 and which, until about 20 years ago, also contained a barbershop where patrons in the mid-20th century sipped brews while getting their hair cut.
Capos’ will specifies that the mural will be placed on the west side of the brick building, away from oncoming westbound traffic along busy West Front Street.
That way, onlookers get an easy eyeful without having to cram in the mural’s 600 square feet of history while driving through town.
City officials also wanted it on the west side of the building, Stokes said.
The project benefited from a $10,000 facade improvement grant from the city that helped purchase a new coat of paint and labor to apply it.
The mortar and concrete also had to be restored for the project as part of about $30,000 to $40,000 in building improvements, including improvements associated with the facade grant, but not the mural.
After Capos died in 2014 at age 102, Stokes went to his funeral, where Capos’ nephew told Stokes that his uncle had left him about $19,000 to do the mural.
That surprised Stokes and Smart, who Stokes enlisted to complete it, since Capos, who owned other downtown buildings, had always talked to them about wanting the mural but prodded others to foot the bill.
“His comment was, I might need that money, I might live a long time,” recalled Smart.
The mural will be dedicated with Capos family members present probably next spring, Stokes said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.