GARRETT — A commissioned painting depicting the Garrett interurban train station was unveiled during an exhibit opening at the Garrett Museum of Art on Sept. 21.
Indiana artist Fred Doloresco, now of Lake James, told those gathered he was provided a circa 1910 sepia-tone postcard of the once-busy interurban electric line train station located at the corner of King and Cowen streets, just down the block from the museum. The postcard showed a number of trains, a flour company mural on the side of a building and people walking between the tracks.
“I know they had color in those days,” Doloresco quipped, so finding the appropriate hues for the trains and other landmarks involved some research.
“I looked up to find the color, and was shocked to find they were orange and green,” he said. “I thought they were very reserved in those days.” The colors of the interurban cars matched the color scheme of the Indiana Railroad System, owners of the railway company, according to Doloresco.
Passenger service from Garrett to Kendallville began the last week of September 1906, using water from Bixler Lake to power its turbines. The opening was the same week as Kendallville’s annual fair, with more than 1,200 Garrett residents reported to have traveled to the fair during that week, numbering as many as 800 on one single day, according to his research.
Just like colorizing a black and white movie, the artist had to guess what color to make clothing and other items. He thanked Doug Runyon and wife, Dodie for their help and encouragement.
Doloresco, an impressionist/realist plein-air and studio oil painter said doing a commissioned piece is kind of difficult for him — “like a rope tied onto your arm” because he naturally wants to paint a certain way that might be contrary to what is expected. “It does present a problem,” he said.
But the painting met expectations and more, as the crowd voiced approval as Museum Director Jim Gabbard removed the covering for the unveiling.
This was the second painting commissioned by Judy A. Morrill for the museum’s permanent display conveying the railroad heritage of Garrett. In January, a colorful, abstract painting of the roundhouse and Garrett railroad station by local artist Orie Shafer was unveiled.