empire-builder-blogFebruary 22, 2016 – by Jean Sullivan


Sidney Art Gallery
A fund raiser for Sunday February; 21st.
48 Stops on The Empire Builder
A one person play and art show by J. Louis King
limited seating
1:00 PM Show  Tickets are $10.00 per show available through the Sidney Art Gallery
202 Sidney Avenue, Port Orchard, WA. 98366

Train Photography will be arranged throughout the Gallery.

J. Lewis King dressed in his conductor outfit stood on a platform of bright yellow which eventually turned out to be one of the 'steps' used to help some of the passengers to board the train.  He donned his hat, hollered loud and clear  . . "All Aboard"    and we all sat straight in our chairs and waited for the ride to begin.  We were to leave Chicago for Seattle and there would be many stops along the way.  We had a map to follow.   At each stop he told a tale of the towns big and small;  a lot of history;  a lot of interesting tidbits about conduct on a train.   He passed along the pictures he had taken in his travels over the years as a train conductor and we were all amazed at sights we saw and could almost hear the sounds of the engine.    We were all mesmerized and time flew so quickly he actually had to rush a bit to get his whole show finished on time.   He had photographs which he took over the years of scenes from one end of the country to the other, and they were passed back so each of us could enjoy the beauty and the story behind them..  Beautiful photographs and some made into cards.    I chose five, but could have chosen five more easily;  they are works of art.  I have one winter scene of the Foss River Bridge built in 1951 in the Cascade Mountains, Skyomish, Washington which  show the tracks on a huge trestle in winters snow.    It reminded me a bit of the scenes  of the train from Sacramento heading for Reno, we used to see it going  both up and down the grades of the Sierras. We could look over the distant mountains and see the tracks where the train route was and the one area covered where the snow pack was the most dangerous for the train travel.    I never did get to make that trip, but intended to.

Another picture I got was of Glacier Park Sunset , Montana, A sunset view with huge dark storm clouds hovering above and a small glimpse of the sun as it set at evening tide.     The next card picture is of Nyack Meadows, Glacier Park Milepost 1189, and again, a snow scene, a train rounding a curve with the sun reflected on the side of the cars, trees loaded with snow and another train passing on tracks right beside the train going up into a mountain pass.   You can feel the silence, you can feel the cold icy wind and know the train is warm and moving right along.  Another card I chose was that of a train station.  It was named "Eldest Daughter" Winona Train Station MP 303.2 Winona, Minnesota.  The station is a night scene, with glowing lights shining on it and the building is one of those very old mansion like homes ..almost a Victorian style, dark skies, shadows of the trees on a snowy walkway.   J. Louis King knows his way around a camera.  The last card I chose is called "Light at the End of the Tunnel"  at New Cascade Tunnel, Stevens Pass, Berne, Washington.  Longest Tunnel in the United States,7.8 miles, opened in 1929.The background is black with a center opening tunnel pure white showing a bit of the tracks in white.    It truly does remind  one that there is a 'light at the end of the tunnel';  hope!!

j-louis-king-1J.Louis King did a wonderful job of taking us aboard a train and giving us an experience of what it must be like to 'ride the rails'.    I am sure many things have changed from the old steam engines to the new and modern ones, probably the difference between day and night.    I think he should take time out and go for a ride on a new train and see just what has transpired since he last walked the aisles, collected tickets, called the names of the towns and help the riders off.    If he does, I hope he won't forget his camera.    

I may be over stepping my bounds a bit but if you are interested in owning some beautiful cards that are really special go on line and see what has to offer.   

The Gallery Table was loaded with all kinds of good things to eat and they were eaten up quickly.   The next show is starting at four and a new group is in for a special ride.   I know they are going to enjoy every; minute of it;   I am betting J.Louis King will be in fine voice as he had a chance to test out his first audience in some time and come off a huge success.   A man of many talents.  A  'nice' man with smiling eyes and a gift of gab.

I hope you have a chance to get out and see some local talent in your area and be in for the surprise of your life.   Shared talent, a great way to spend some of those seconds.    Be good, be kind, be gentle and take time out to participate in your local talented folks who love to share themselves with you.  And, don't forget the girl scouts cookie drive is on….be a scout…Hugs to all.

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