Williamsport's history also is a fish story.
That is the message behind "What Lives In There," a large-scale stainless steel fish sculpture that will be unveiled next week along the Susquehanna River Walk.
The sculpture, created by Oval-based artist Michael Patterson, will be unveiled at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the south side of the river levee, just east of the Maynard Street Bridge.
A reception with light refreshments will follow at 6:30 p.m. at the Capitol Lounge on the second floor of the Community Arts Center.
The sculpture, which was commissioned by local art advocacy group PublicARTWORKS Committee, depicts an array of fish native to the river, said committee member Mark Murawski.
"The sculpture shows the importance of the river to our history and economic development," Murawski said. "The fish depicted in it are all native to the Susquehanna River. Fishing was an important activity, economically, to our history."
The sculpture will be highly visible.
"The sculpture is 35 feet long. It will be visible, not only on the river walk, but from the Maynard Street Bridge," Murawski said. "If you are on the river, you will see it, too."
The sculpture is the first commissioned by the committee, which plans to install one piece of public art per year for the next 10 years along the river walk.
It will join a life-size bronze, lumber-era "woodhick" created by Muncy artist Pam Madai Barner, which is on the north side of the river just west of the Market Street Bridge.
"Now there will be a major art piece on either side of the river," Murawski said.
Plans originally called for the fish sculpture to be installed in the spring. However, the installation was delayed until a graffiti-resistant coating could be applied to the concrete wall on which the sculpture will be placed, Murawski said.
No one on the committee has seen the finished piece, he said. But what they have seen has been impressive.
"The committee has seen it in progress several times but have not seen the finished product. We'll see it the first time the general public sees it," Murawski said. "I think the public will be amazed at (Patterson's) talent."
The piece was financed through a grant by the First Community Foundation of Pennsylvania, fundraising efforts by the committee and private donations, he said.
The unveiling is open to the public.