O. Winston Link

Got lost. I faced the phone and carefully annunciated Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park into the SatNav microphone a few times and the closest we got was ‘sign on my way to your room’ and ‘gone on my way to your room’. I don’t know. Up to now the SatNav’s been limiting itself to geographical locations on its Google map. It’s like it’s been listening into my conversations with Dave and extending its range, adding a bit of vocab. Suffice to say we didn’t find the Skyline Drive but did end up a bit snippety on the wrong side of the tracks in Roanoke, facing the O. Winston Link Museum.

Link’s the magnificent Brooklyn photographer who photographed the steam trains of the Norfolk & Western Railway, the people that worked on them and lived by the tracks, and the whole folksy, nicer, simpler days, when the rural waiting rooms served as meeting house, post office, general store, women travelled with hat boxes, and conductors handed out lollies to children along the route through Virginia on Saturdays.  His five-year project came to an end in 1960, just two months before the end of steam.

Equally joyful on the eye was the museum building itself, the former station: a sleek, modernist gem, partly intact, designed by Raymond Loewy, father of US industrial design. Loewy is a legend. His other projects included the packaging for Lucky Strike cigarettes, logos for Shell and US Mail, Coca-Cola bottles and the Studebaker.

O. Winston Link Museum, 101 Shenandoah Avenue, Roanoke, Virginia

 

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