The day was beautiful, the light just right, so why not paint outside? Exactly! And, off I went to visit my hometown railroad depot for a session of watercolor painting. I have drawn it before as part of my “Drawing Talent” project, but had not painted the depot.
I was brainstorming about what attracts me to railroad depots; what’s my personal connection? Naturally, it all started when I was a child:
- My grandfather Stermer was an engineer for the railroad. He worked out of Elmira NY. He used to talk about trains, the Erie & Lackawanna railroad, and wear a railroad cap.
- My grandparents Stermer would come visit us via the train. It would be a treat to go in the car with my Dad to either pick them up or drop them off.
- There was a railroad track that went through my childhood town of Bayard, NM. It used to be part of the Santa Fe Railroad. It was a freight train and went right by the grade school. We loved watching the trains go by and waving at the engineers.
- I’ve traveled by train in the US and Europe; its great fun and an excellent way to travel.
Talent Gets A Railroad Depot
The train tracks that run through my current home town of Talent, Oregon, are close to my house. They go through the middle of town. The depot is only a couple of blocks away. I jog by it during my morning exercise. However, I did’t know that much about the depot itself, until I started this blog post.
Mr. Talent Gets the Mail
I found a file on line from our Talent Historical Society about the depot. First of all, there really was a Talent family that the town is named after. The Talents used to receive the mail at their house during the stagecoach days. Mr. Talent became Postmaster. Eventually, the railroad began delivering to the Talent’s house. This situation continued for over 15 years.
Depot Delivered to Talent
By the turn of the 20th Century, the town was big enough that the citizens figured they ought to have a depot. They lobbied the Southern Pacific Railroad for a depot and received one. A depot was delivered to Talent, by train of course! The depot came from nearby Medford, Oregon. Coincidentally, Medford was getting a new depot so Talent received the old.
Depot a Replica
Today’s depot is a replica of the depot Talent once had. Its not used as a depot because passenger and freight traffic no longer runs on the rail. The rail is maintained, however. Who knows, maybe one day rail service will resume.
I found it amusing to imagine the train depot being moved down the tracks. If you click on this link, you can see a photo of Talent’s depot being transported down the track: http://www.talenthistory.org/forms/2010_2.pdf.
Oh! Yes, there is a sign on the railroad depot with some stats. Talent’s elevation is 1635 feet. We are 336 miles from Portland, OR and 436 from San Francisco, CA.
Tomorrow: Day Five of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!