Good Question: Mysterious mural at old Kodak site

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ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) — For this story, we’re trying to solve a mystery going back more than 60 years. Here’s how this all got started.

One of the best photographers in town, Jim Montanus, put out this Tweet:

  • "Big mystery! The owners of a Kodak Park bldg. knocked down a wall and found this tile mosaic mural and no one knows what it means or why it’s there. Ancient aliens perhaps? Portal to another dimension? My friend has worked there for 44 years and no one has a clue. Do you?"

The same post showed up in our Good Question inbox. The responses online covered everything with people guessing what the mural was about. Something to do with photography? Or science? Or the old legend of a pool that was built but couldn’t be used because the weight of the water wasn’t factored in the building design?

So what’s the truth? I asked Kodak for the answer. A company spokesperson pointed me to this Democrat and Chronicle article from 1961: "Kodak opens 7-story physics lab".

Kodak Opens Lab Article. Courtesy of Democrat and Chronicle on Scribd

What’s in the photo? Our mystery mural.

It was in the lobby of the new lab. The article says: "Depicted in the mural are the symbols of sound, mechanics, atomic structure, optics, electronics, electrical energy, and photography."

All of that would be studied in some 200 labs in the building. Mystery solved.

So that mural is in building 81 on the East Side of Lake Avenue. We’ve heard from people saying please don’t tear it down it’s a cool piece of Rochester’s history.

The good news? It isn’t going anywhere. The new owners are saving it and will work it into the new space.