When George Dragone, co-owner of Dragone Classic Motor Cars, pulled up in front of the Westport Historical Society early Sunday afternoon in a bright red 1955 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon, it was a sign something special was going on.

In fact, the historical society was inviting people to travel down memory lane as it unveiled a new exhibit, "Saugatuck @ Work," highlighting the history of the riverside Westport neighborhood and the impact that construction of Interstate 95 had on its character and future.

A reception, introduced by historical society Executive Director Susan Gold, marked the opening of the collection of photographs, paintings and memorabilia celebrating Saugatuck. It runs through the end of next May.

Anchoring the exhibit is a mural depicting Saugatuck history painted by Westport artist Robert L. Lambdin in 1969 for then-Westport Bank & Trust on Charles Street. It was displayed in the bank for 43 years before the branch, which had ultimately become a TD Bank branch, closed two years ago. When Westporter Ann Sheffer learned the mural was still at the vacant structure, she initiated a move to save it.

With support from the town, area patrons of the arts and the Connecticut Humanities Trust, Conservator Joe Matteis and Mark Hawes and Susan Holbrook of Holbrook & Hawes of Clinton restored the mural. In June, after the historical society exhibit closes, the mural will move across the street to Town Hall, where it will permanently displayed.

The mural, called "Saugatuck in the 19th Century," measures 6 by 10 feet and features vessels that plied the river during that era, as well as long-gone landmarks such as the Saugatuck Bank, precursor of Westport Bank & Trust, and the Methodist Church. It also depicts neighborhood landmarks that survive, including the original firehouse, the swing bridge over the Saugatuck River and the railroad station.

Although the Connecticut Turnpike, now Interstate 95, was not built until the mid-20th century, Lamdin frames the setting with the highway's bridge that now overshadows the area.

Town officials were on hand for the reception and made remarks. "It's so easy for us to take for granted our heritage," said state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg. "Saugatuck is central to the evolution of the community."

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe noted, "It's been a pleasure to open a number of exhibits at the Westport Historical Society. This is a tremendous exhibit. The vibrancy in the mural is so representative of what was ... and what is."

A related exhibit, "Framing Saugatuck: History under the Highway," also opened at the historical society. Organized by Elizabeth Devoll, it focuses on Interstate 95's impact in the neighborhood.

Saugatuck @ Work" will run Nov. 23 to May 30, 2015, at the Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit www.westporthistory.org.