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California students’ 1976 bicentennial mural on dam being replaced

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A giant mural that students painted on a California dam for the U.S. bicentennial in 1976 is being recreated after years of controversy over a decision to remove the original.

Workers following the original design began painting the new mural on the spillway of Prado Dam this month, Southern California News Group reported.

The dam is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control project on the Santa Ana River, about 36 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

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Seen is the Prado Dam with its bicentennial mural at a time when crews were working to close a breach in the dam, at left, due to heavy rains in Corona, California, on Jan. 14, 2005. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

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More than 40 years ago, high school students from the nearby city of Corona used the dam to salute the nation’s bicentennial, painting the phrase “200 YEARS OF FREEDOM,” a Liberty Bell silhouette, and the dates “1776-1976.”

The mural became a landmark but it suffered from weathering and graffiti, and the Corps announced it would be removed due to lead in the original paint. That led to a lawsuit and a failed effort to have it listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Many of the original painters attended a September ceremony marking the greenlighting of a plan to remove the old mural and replace it.



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