If you've ever turned from Shore Road down Tomac Avenue in Old Greenwich, you may have noticed a white wall with painted images of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs separating 31 Shore Road from 3 Tomac Court. I searched our newspaper index to see if I could find an article that had any information. Couldn't find anything. I then decided to try and contact the owner of the wall. This wasn't as easy as you'd think! I couldn't tell who owned the wall. So like any good Librarian, I checked out Google Maps to find the addresses of both properties, and used the Reverse Phone Directory to find some names and phone numbers. I got no answer at either address, so had to leave my phone number.
SNOW WHITE MURAL
PHOTO BY CARL WHITE
After several days of phone tag, I received a call from a gentleman who lived at 3 Tomac Court. He told me that Lorraine and Fred Cofone on Shore Road had the wall painted, and that there was a very interesting story behind it. Finally, I was able to get Lorraine Cofone on the phone, and she was very helpful. She explained much of the history, and told me that her neighbor at the time had called the newspaper. A reporter came down, interviewed them and took some pictures. The article and photo appeared in the Thursday, November 20, 1975, edition of the Village Gazette.
According to the newspaper, the Cofones had painted the wall white, and it looked very plain. When Lorraine asked her husband, Fred, what they should do about it, he suggested a painting of Snow White. They had a 16-month son at the time, and they had it painted for him.
SNOW WHITE MURAL NEAREST TO TOMAC ROAD
PHOTO BY CARL WHITE
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was an animated fantasy developed by Walt Disney in 1937. Most of us know the story of the stepmother who tries to kill her, the Dwarfs who take her in, and the handsome Prince who awakens her with a kiss. Disney was awarded an honorary Oscar, and the movie was nominated for the best musical score in 1938. It was added to the National Film Registry in 1989, and is considered one of the American Film Institutes 100 Greatest Films of All Time.
The wall was first painted in 1975 by an artist, Marcia Tartaglia. Marcia was a Cos Cob resident and friend of the family. She graduated from Greenwich High School, had studied art at Norwalk Community College, worked at the Carnival Card Shop and designed labels for a line of seed packets. Residents may remember the images she painted for the Bon-Ton Fish Market on Greenwich Avenue years ago. When the Cofones approached her to paint the Snow White mural on their wall, she looked in a Disney color book of Snow White for some ideas.
Marcia began the process by sketching the image of Snow White on the white wall. Then she painted in the colors. This had to be done on days when the weather was good. She then finished the dwarfs in order: Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful, Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy and Doc. Marcia enhanced the painting by adding images of birds, small animals, a Diamond Mine and some grass. When you turn the corner from Shore Road, you see Snow White waving at you!
OTHER END OF WALL. NOTICE IMAGE OF HEIDI THE DOG.
PHOTO BY CARL WHITE
The artist wasn't alone when she painted! The family dog, Heidi, stayed close by, watching the progress. The big, gentle German Shepherd loved to lie in the sun between the images of Sneezy and Bashful. As a tribute to the dog, Marcia included Heidi's image at the far end of the wall. It's a life-size portrait - one that the real Heidi likes to lie next to.
Marcia had never been to Disneyland in California; but she had been to Walt Disney World in Florida. She believed that was much better than the west coast attraction.
Over the years, the mural faded. In the summer of 2014, the Cofones once again hired an artist to refurbish the wall. Their current dog befriended the artist, and followed the painter around the property!
The wall is somewhat of a "tourist attraction". School students come by on a bus for what's called an "Early American Tour". It's considered a local historical site. Strangers have stopped by to take pictures, and thank the Cofones for the mural. Since it's very close to the intersection, drivers have to be very careful when they stop to take pictures.
Many thanks to Lorraine Cofone for sharing this very interesting story with us!
Clark, El: "Disney World on Tomac Avenue!": Village Gazette, Old Greenwich CT, 20 Nov. 1975, Print