"Wetzel & Tyler Railway Company 1915"

16"X20" Prints $60 - Framed and matted $200
Limited edition of 250 prints. Signed and numbered.
Released November 1st 2015

Through the Lens (A Street Car in Our Hometown)
Chuck Clegg
A long time ago, about one-hundred years, I have been told that my Grandfather, Boone Cecil worked on the trolley that ran along the river from Sistersville to New Martinsville. That's really about as much as I know of his time working for the trolley system. Recently I was remind of that story when I first saw a painting by local artist, E. Stanley Yost. His painting is named "Wetzel & Tyler Railway Company" as shown on Main Street in downtown New Martinsville.

Nostalgia and local history is something that I have always enjoyed exploring in both pictures and art. Over the years I have seen several pictures of the trolley lines that once served our local community. The trolley service ran along the river, and for a while even went out to Middlebourne. In the early 1900’s people did not get in their car and take a ten minute ride to Paden City. You checked the trolley schedule and adjusted your needs to catch the next passing trolley.

Earl’s painting reminded me a little of another artist whose style I very much enjoy, Thomas Kinkaid. In the painting Earl manages to bring to life Main Street at just the right moment in the late evening after a light rain. Street lights have been lit and the downtown is alive. The night sky is filled with high clouds, reflecting the last of the days light before turning from a shade of dark blue to the blackness of night and a star filled sky.

If you look long enough at the painting you can almost hear the sounds of the metal wheels on the track and the crack of the blue spark off the power cable above the car as the conductor yells all aboard. This painting is the first in series that Yost is doing to bring back a bit of the Parlor city’s past. If you look closely you can see some of the same buildings still that stand today in the downtown area.

Street cars operated in the area until the early 1930’s. In the 1920’s the Traction Company sold the railroad tracks that ran along the river to the state road commission so they could begin building Route 2. Automobiles had begun to become affordable and popular as more and more people wanted own one of the newest Model A’s of the day. More and more roads were being built for the new wave of transportation that was coming.

The trolley car is depicted in it’s heyday of service in about 1915. For a few cents a person could travel in relative comfort on the steel rails. In the painting you can see the tracks that once ran up the center of Main Street. A place where the trolley only shared their roadway with the occasional passing horse and buggy. Above the street, the town clock shows 10:10. You realize it must be late summer and the red bricks of the street are still warm from the day’s hot sun.
 
The completed painting has been scanned professionaly and prints are being made for sale. Already several of the prints have been preordered even before they have arrived. Earl also has in the works three more paintings showing life in our community. Next in the series is the old train depot on North Street depicted in the year 1913. After that is complete a painting of ice skating at the Harlan Drive park just last winter. And finally a nostalgic look at the old downtown theater, when girls wore bobby socks and a boy drove a 57 Chevy in the late fifties.

Earl’s skills and keen eye for detail in creating his paintings have made them ideal pieces for collectors as far away as Perth Australia.

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