LITTLE FERRY, N.J. — Who better to commemorate Little Ferry's history than someone who's lived through almost 90 years of it.
Longtime resident Bill Riedel, 87, constructed a 40-foot mural depicting iconic landmarks and moments in Little Ferry. He will soon give his creation to the local library to display and share with the rest of the community.
"I've always wanted to do something along these lines," Riedel told Daily Voice. "[I wanted] a feeling of leaving something behind, because of my age. I don't know how much longer I'll be here, but at least this is something that will be left and will hopefully last quite awhile."
The Riedel family owns a sign-making business, founded by Bill. He used his expertise to paint the mural on the 5-by-40-foot canvas.
He painted in sepia tone, meaning he limited his colors to brown and white.
With his palette ready, he painted many well-known Little Ferry buildings such as firehouses, churches, schools and the library itself.
He also portrayed George Washington on his horse, as the history books say he traveled through Little Ferry on his retreat to Fort Lee.
Riedel finished the mural and plans to give it to the library after the holidays.
Richard Mariconda, library director, said he thinks it will be a great addition to the library, and a historic reminder.
"If we go back in time before literacy, there were pictures," Mariconda said. "Pictures are a precursor to literacy and telling stories with pictures was a way of conveying information, so I'm very happy to have Mr. Riedel's excellent work on the library wall."
Riedel lived in Little Ferry his whole life, with the only exception being his service in the Navy. He started his sign business in the 1950s and it still operates on Warren Street.
"I wouldn't think of moving," he said. "I've been here a long time and I'm very satisfied."