Graffiti vandalizes Main Street mural over weekend

Salamanca police are investigating the vandalism of the Main Street mural by Carson Waterman overlooking the Allegheny River that was graffitied over the weekend.

SALAMANCA — Those crossing the Main Street bridge Saturday were shocked to see amateur paint scribblings spoiling the Seneca mural overlooking the Allegheny River.

Salamanca Police are seeking the help of the public to find who graffitied the mural painted by internationally known artist Carson Waterman, a Seneca native and Salamanca resident.

Chief Troy Westfall reported Monday no suspects have been identified in the vandalism of the beloved mural on the south side of the building at 54-56 Main St, which was discovered Saturday morning.

“We’re trying to reach out right now to just see if we can get it fixed because it’s kind of like a Salamanca icon,” he said. “It’s part of our community, and right now we need something to look up to.”

Westfall said he first learned of the graffiti through a Facebook post.

“WTF are people thinking???” one widely shared post read. “One of the best pieces of art in our little town of Salamanca, vandalized? So sorry Carson Waterman.”

Although several words were written on the wall, Westfall said by the time the police knew about it, someone had already painted over the words, so they aren’t positive what was written.

“We appreciate the offers to help cover the ignorance on Main St.,” Mayor Michael “Smitty” Smith posted Sunday on Facebook. “We are in the process of determining ownership of the building and making a plan.”

The building is owned by Merle Watt Jr., according to the Cattaraugus County Office of Real Property Services. Westfall said the city and Seneca Marshals had reached out to Watt for permission to paint over the graffiti as soon as possible.

“We have an offer from Dan Aldrich from Ellicottville, and he has hooked up with Sherwin-Williams,” Smith said Monday. “They will donate the paint, he will donate the labor and they will cover it up.”

(Contact managing editor Kellen Quigley at kquigleysp@gmail.com)