A quick glance at a mural while walking to a park in Yokosuka, Japan caught the eyes of a Boothbay Harbor man several years ago.
There, painted on a retaining wall at the entrance to the park, were two scenes that looked very familiar. They were waterfront scenes from Alfred Barter’s hometown – approximately 7,000 miles from home. One scene shows the sailboat Bay Lady docked at a float off Commercial Street, and the other shows boats docked at Tugboat Inn with the Maine Trading Post and other buildings in the background.
Barter, who helped repair ships at a U.S. Naval base next to the Mikasa Battleship Park in Japan, was surprised at his find. And still, several years later, he doesn’t know why the mural was painted or who did the work.
“I am still working on solving that mystery,” said Barter.
But the popularity of Boothbay Harbor is not a mystery to Barter, who recently retired after 30 years working around the world repairing ships for the Navy and Merchant Marines.
“You don’t know how many times I have met people in various places who know about Boothbay Harbor,” said the 1971 graduate of Boothbay Region High School. “It is well known.”
Because of his interest in his hometown and having worked near a park for several years, he recently attended a Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Preservation Board and Advisory Committee meeting.
“I attended because I wanted to see what it was all about and, after hearing what I heard, I fully support it,” said Barter, who has attended subsequent meetings. “I think the park will attract even more people to the town. What a view! And people will be able to actually touch the water. Those are what draw people here.”
Barter said he is looking forward to volunteering at the park.
“I’ll go down there and mow the lawns, if they want,” said Barter. “I hope more people are willing to donate to the park, to make it a reality. The group has done very well getting donations to start it by Nov. 1, but more is needed.”