Just north of the Littleton Fine Arts Guild’s Depot Art Gallery at 2069 W. Powers Ave. sits a compatible caboose which holds railroad art photos by guild member Samuel Howard, who frequently has the space open during Depot hours, which are unfortunately nil as we write. As soon as the state lets our immediate world open up again, this choice relic will be one to visit. We will hope to keep readers posted.
In 1876, the nation’s Bicentennial year, there was some extra grant money in the federal system, which Guild members found, adding it to what they had raised in the community through sales of donated works. They were able to negotiate a lease with the City of Littleton to convert Littleton’s 1881 Rio Grande Depot into an art gallery for members — and at times, other artists, to display their paintings and sculptures. The wooden Santa Fe Depot had been moved to a safe spot in Bega Park when it had to be removed from the actual train tracks. (Local businessman, developer and arts patron Varian Ashbaugh took care of moving it several times.) Littleton also had preserved the old stone Rio Grande depot, which was moved and serves commuters today.
Fairly soon after the Depot Gallery opened, a relative of a member came to the group with the opportunity to add a caboose to the tracks. Logistics came later, as I recall it, but the offer was accepted and soon the depot had company on its little piece of track. At first, there was a club of railroad photographers who exhibited, but now, Samuel Howard is the sole artist in the Caboose Gallery. He lives in Centennial and loves photographing mountain railroading scenes and the amazing landscape that surround us.
“I photograph all over the state of Colorado where steam engines on the narrow gauge are still king,” he writes. “My favorite place to photograph is still the Durango/Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad … My choices to photograph have spectacular environs and complement the power of the trains. A thundering steam engine is a joy to photograph and the viewer is transformed to a long time ago.”
He exhibits color, black and white images and some created on infused aluminum.
His statement adds that he is now the sole artist in the Caboose Gallery in Littleton, housed in an authentic 1880s Chicago/Burlington/Quincy wooden caboose. He also creates notecards with trains on them, which would make a great gift to an adult or a kid who’s a railroad buff — if only we can open up again.
Perhaps the Easter Bunny can deliver some if the present closure extends into 2021 …