Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Story Teller

"The Story Teller"

The Puget Sound Electric Railway ("PSER") was the region's first experience with the early 20th Century electric interurban phenomenon that swept the land.  In 1902 the PSER inaugurated service between Seattle and Tacoma with electric trains operating as fast as 60 mph.  While service ended in 1928, the legacy lives on with the last remaining example of the railway, interurban car 523.

PSER 523 was donated to the Northwest Railway Museum in September 2017, and a grant from 4Culture funded movement of the car from Petaluma, California to Snoqualmie.  In January 2018 the car was nominated and listed to the King County and City of Snoqualmie Landmarks Registers.  And how appropriate that 523 is now located in Snoqualmie given that 523 was powered in part with electricity from the Snoqualmie Falls hydroelectric power station!

Museum Executive Director
Richard R. Anderson and 
artist J. Craig Thorpe pose
with "The Story Teller" at
the February 22 unveiling.
To raise awareness and help educate, the Museum commissioned noted artist J. Craig Thorpe to produce an original artwork featuring PSER car 523.  "The Story Teller" depicts the northbound car 523 at Auburn in Fall 1915 as it transitions from overhead electric (catenary) to electrified third rail.  It also illustrates the adjacent Milwaukee Road line, and in the distance is Mount Rainier.  The painting is named for its role in interpreting the historical uses of the car, but also for its future at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie.

Copies of this beautiful painting are available for $9.95 from the Depot Bookstore at 38265 SE King Street in Snoqualmie.  Proceeds of poster sales will support rehabilitation of car 523.

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