SACRAMENTO — The California State Railroad Museum is now displaying a documentary-style exhibit titled “Wedlock’s Gift: California Railroad Depot Images in Ink” in two phases.
The first set of 26 sketches debuted Thursday and continues through February 2012. Then, in August 2012, the second set of 26 sketches will debut and continue through December 2012. Following the completion of his quest to interpret many of California’s disappearing historic railroad depots in brush and ink, commercial artist Walter J. Wedlock gifted the complete set of 52 drawings and one watercolor to the California State Railroad Museum in 1985 after seeing the collection together for the first time during a special exhibit.
Wedlock’s quest began in the 1970s, when he realized historic railroad depots that had once dotted the rail lines of California were in danger of being demolished due to the decline of passenger train travel. Racing against time and the wrecking ball, Wedlock sketched his compelling images on-the-spot after tracking down various depots built primarily between the 1880s and the late 1930s. Wedlock did not concentrate on any one architectural style, railroad company or structure, but instead focused on capturing the unique personality of each historic railroad depot, many of which had been the center of their communities at an earlier time.
While more than a third of the depots sketched by Wedlock have been demolished, many communities subsequently launched successful efforts to save their endangered depots. Today, many house museums or have changed to some other adaptive reuse. Happily, several are once again busy transportation centers for the communities they serve.
Each drawing in the “Wedlock’s Gift: California Railroad Depot Images in Ink” exhibit will include information about the structure’s heritage including the date it was built, the architectural style and building materials used, the railroad company with which it was associated, and whether the station still exists today and, if so, its current use.
For more information about “Wedlock’s Gift: California Depot Images in Ink” exhibit or other exhibits on display at the Museum, visit www.californiastaterailroadmuseum.org or call (916) 445-6645.