|O. Winston Link and George Thom with Flash Equipment, New York, NY 1956|
I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that it took me ten years to visit the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke. I visited it on Saturday and have to say it is now my favorite museum in Roanoke. I'm a huge fan of black and white photography as well as steam engines so this was right up my alley. His photos are magnificent and the three I'm showing in this blog post were taken from postcards I had bought and believe me they do not do him justice.
O. Winston Link was born and raised in Brooklyn. Ahem, yet another talented, creative genius that shares my hometown. Although he was a life-long New Yorker, he said he always felt like he was "home" when he came back to Roanoke. He loved this city, its people, and especially its trains. We are indeed a most fortunate city that he chose us to host his museum when I'm sure he easily could have found a home in Manhattan.
Although photographs are not allowed in the gallery, the yard was opened where the 1218 stood majestically on the tracks. One of his stipulations on having the museum built here was to have the 1218 permanently placed there, and although that was an impossibility as the location is too small for a roundhouse, he was instrumental in Norfolk & Western's decision to restore and donate the locomotive to the city of Roanoke. The 1218 usually stands next to the 611 on the tracks of the Virginia Museum of Transportation which is a couple of blocks away, and the reason my family ended up in Roanoke. My son was a train fanatic and we wound up in Roanoke to visit the museum 20 years ago and ended up staying. Best decision ever. It's definitely worth a visit, especially if you have kids, and even if you don't.
Here's a couple of shots of the yard and a couple more of Downtown Roanoke...
And just think in a couple of years y'all be able to visit us via Amtrak which is getting a station downtown. Choo Choo, all aboard!