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Silver Rails Gallery Opening, March 13, 2010


Silver Rails Gallery Opening, La Plata, Missouri

Steaming Through the Past, Connecting to the Future:

Unique La Plata Art Gallery to Celebrate All Things Railroading*

*Title of the Press Release issued by

Report by Carl Morrison, -  Photos by Carl and Sue Morrison, and Tom Anderson


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The Main Characters in Attendance


Karri, Amy, and Bob Cox, Curator
Carl Morrison, Photographer (left), and
Matt Melzer,  Silver Rails Country


J. Craig Thorpe, Featured Artist


Chris West of Loco Vino: The Railroad Winery (left), Tom Anderson, Photographer and Silver Rails Wine Consultant,  J. Craig Thorpe, Featured Artist.
Jackie Hadnot, Wooden Ironhorses
Nathan Chidester, Let's Talk Trains, Host


February 26, 2010

Contact: Bob Cox, 660-956-4157

Matthew Melzer, 660-616-4840

Steaming Through the Past, Connecting to the Future:

Unique La Plata Art Gallery to Celebrate All Things Railroading

LA PLATA, MO – ... one of the most unique subjectmatter-specific art galleries in America, focusing exclusively on artistic interpretations of railroading
past, present, and future through a variety of media. Silver Rails Gallery will be a new, permanent space to display significant works of railroad artistry.

Established in 2010, Silver Rails Gallery will feature paintings, photographs, three-dimensional works, poetry, literature, artifacts, multimedia works, and performances that document, honor, and capture the experience of railroading throughout American history.

All proceeds from sales of original art, prints, and other gifts at Silver Rails Gallery will benefit the American Passenger Rail Heritage
Foundation, dedicated to establishing, expanding, and maintaining an educational exhibition in La Plata featuring the history of passenger rail in America.

“Whether seen through the eyes of a railroad worker, a passenger, a train enthusiast, or a citizen, railroad art can serve to broaden our view of the important roles railroads and trains continue to play in society,” said Bob Cox, La Plata resident and Curator of Silver Rails Gallery.

...  one of the world's only standalone art galleries and museum spaces dedicated entirely to works of railroad-related art. Housed in a historic "Old West" building on the town square of La Plata, ... will also contain the Silver Rails Memorial Library, a repository of railroad artifacts from the estates of late railroaders and train enthusiasts.

“Taken together, we hope these efforts will cement Silver Rails Gallery's status as the premier center of railroad cultural heritage,” said Cox.

The March 13 opening celebration will feature an interpretive chat about railroading and art from famed artist J. Craig Thorpe, the inaugural Featured Artist at Silver Rails Gallery.

Visitors can join in the live webcast of Internet radio talk show Let's Talk Trains with host Nathan Chidester.

Guests 21 and over will also enjoy free pourings of local Missouri wine courtesy of West Winery and its Loco Vino: The Railroad Winery line (

# # # #

Attending Guest Artists (In order on press release).  

Click the name on the left for Biographical Information.  

If the artist has a website, it is at the end of their name below:

    •  J. Craig Thorpe: Conceptual and scenic railroad paintings  Website:  J. Craig

    •  Jackie Hadnot: Wooden Ironhorses - Railroad wood carvings

    •  Carl Morrison, Placentia, CA: Railroad Photography -  Website:  Mo Knows 

    •  Nick Smith, LaPlata, MO: (railroad photography)  Website: 

    •  Will Anderson,  (CAD train renderings)  Website:  Will's Train Art

    •  Ken Barrett, (railroad water colors)

    •  Sotere Torregian, (Amtrak travel poetry)  Website:  Sotere

    •  Chris Guenzler, Santa Ana, CA: (railroad photography)  Website:

    •  Bob Cox,  LaPlata, MO:  (railroad photography)  Website:

    •  Amy Cox, LaPlata, MO:  (railroad photography)  Website: 

Silver Rails Gallery

109 S Gex Street

La Plata, MO 63549

660-956-4157  Bob Cox, Curator of Silver Rails Gallery

660-616-4840  Matthew Melzer

We saw the finishing touches being applied to the Gallery by Curator, Bob Cox, with Amy's help as well as Kelly and Tom Marshall, local cabinet makers.  We helped mount Jackie Hadnot's large wood relief carvings on Friday night.  I had seen the interior of the century-old brick building as it was first being renovated, and boy was I surprised at the finished Gallery.

When you walk into the Silver Rails Gallery, you'll think you were in a big-city gallery.  One thing that is better is that the size is much bigger.  The gallery is 1,000 sq. ft., all on one level!  The ceiling is black with directional lighting on the displayed pieces (as you will see below).  The interior walls of the gallery, as well as the display walls, are painted in what reads as either grey or green.  I read it as green, Sue reads it as grey.  At the back of the Gallery, behind the partial wall, is the Research Library.  Here you can peruse Train Books, Train Videos, Train Magazines, and Model Railroading magazines. 

The Gift Shop is well done and displays post cards, DVDs, note cards, calendars, posters, party goods, tee shirts, hats, and matted prints in an up close and personal way.  I would envision the Gallery as a great field trip for photography, art, woodworking, and marketing classes of all levels from elementary to college area schools.  It is close enough to the La Plata schools to become a no-cost, walking fieldtrip.  Group Tours such as Boy and Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs, (which have Photography classes or badges) as well as Senior, Community, and Church Groups would fulfill the educational element of the Gallery's Mission.  Contact Silver Rails Gallery Curator, Bob Cox at 660-956-4157 to make arrangement for your group.

Soon to be completed is a multi-media room where groups can watch DVDs from the Library, or watch Art and Photography Classes and Demonstrations.

Silver Rails Gallery Opening, March 13, 2010

Gallery Entrance through the left door.  Double white Doors will be the entrance to a multi-media theatre with large screen TV.
Inside the front door is a desk to sign in, and a gift shop with photo notecards, wall and desk calendars, posters, train party goods, shirts and hats.


Railroad DVDs are available (photo on right), and a DVD player is playing, above.

The day before the Gallery opened, I was able to walk through and study the pieces on display.  The Gallery is just through the Gift Shop.  Behind the Gallery is the Library with a table and chairs where you can study the books, train periodicals, and model railroading periodicals.

Bob and Amy Cox' work, left.
J. Craig Thorpe's work, right.
Ken Barrett's work right.
One of three bookshelves in the library.
Table in the Library for studying, with refreshments.


Bob Cox mounting Jackie Hadnot's large relief carvings with four "helpers."

Photos by Carl Morrison


Bob and Amy Cox's work.
DSC_3312.jpg IMG_9974.jpg
Ken Barrett's work, (above).              Nick Smith's work, (above).            

We returned to our Western Suite at the Depot Inn and Suites, and awaited the next day's Grand Opening.  Bob, Amy, and Karri Cox stayed until 3 a.m.  putting up tags on each piece with the description and price, and also posting the Bio.'s of each artist.  It was good planning by Bob to have his Show-n-Off Photography and DJ Service right next door, through an interior door.  Amy printed all the information to be posted, on her computer  in their office, and they held the Let's Talk Trains Internet Radio Program in their offices as well.  This seemed like a perfect setup for the radio show;  each time they needed the next artist to interview, they just came through the door to the gallery to get them, then returned to the quieter office to interview them.

The Silver Rails Gallery Opening

10 a.m to 2 p.m. March 13, 2010

Photos by Sue Morrison and Tom Anderson

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The Ribbon Cutting

Bob Cox, Curator, to the right of the scissors, Amy, in black, to the left, and their daughter Karri in front.




A Special Presentation to the Curators, Bob and Amy Cox.

Sue Morrison signing the desk - a tradition for every Silver Rails Opening.
Karri, Amy, and Bob Cox
Tom Anderson signing the desk, Amy at left.


Bob Cox, Silver Rails Gallery Curator, receiving congratulations from visitors.
Carl Morrison signing the desk.


Three of Craig's posters.

J. Craig Thorpe, Featured Artist

J. Craig Thorpe, signing posters.

Sue Morrison enjoying Craig's work.
Nate Chidester, J. Craig Thorpe, and
Tom Anderson (l. to r.)

Jackie Hadnot, Wooden Ironhorses, relief wood carvings.

Union Pacific Big Boy 4002



Daylight 4449
An early carving of Jackie's (above)
4002 Locomotive (below)


Detail of the front of the Big Boy.
Jackie had some smaller, very detailed pieces as well.



Larry thoroughly enjoyed talking with all artists.

Thank you, Jackie, for sharing your great art pieces.

Carl "Mo" Morrison, Railroad Photography of the West




Carl Morrison with Matt Melzer, Silver Rails Country
Carl Morrison by his photo that was selected for Loco Vino:  The Railroad Winery's "Smokestack White" wine.

Ken Barrett, Water colors,  From the Train Seat.




Bob and Amy Cox, Railroad Photography


Three Photos by Bob Cox and three photos by Amy Cox.


Karri, Amy, and Bob Cox

Other Contributing Artists


Nick Smith (left) and
Will Anderson,  (CAD train renderings) (right).


Chris Guenzler

Guests at the Silver Rails Grand Opening

Tom Marshall (left) and
Missouri Representative Tom Shively (District 8)
Mac McCord (left) and Jackie Hadnot.


Nate Chidester getting advice on trains from Karri Cox.
The kids enjoyed the Dispateher Console, formerly in the Depot Inn and Suites lobby.
Mac McCord (left) and Sue Morrison


Brad, Depot Inn & Suites, (left), talking with Tom Shively


Kelly Marshall (left) and Sue Morrison
Chris West (right) provided Loco Vino:  The Railroad Winery  Wine to all the adult guests who wanted to sample his Macon, MO, wine.
Jackie Hadnot (left) and Larry Leibundguth

I counted the entries in the guestbook near the end of the Opening, and there were 50.  Since some entries were couples, and some did not sign in, we thought there were about 80 people there through the Gallery's Opening.  The greatest number at one time was during the Ribbon Cutting.

All contributing artists were very impressed with the Gallery itself, and with the turnout.  Jackie Hadnot, himself, was excited about my report and the Let's Talk Trains Internet Radio interview he did during the opening. 

In closing, I feel this Silver Rails Gallery will be a permanent Railroad Art Gallery that will bring visitors to Silver Rails Country and the Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata, Missouri.  Those who stay at the Depot Inn & Suites can visit the Gallery, by contacting the front desk.  They will arrange free transportation to and from the gallery in the Inn's van.  While you are at the Inn, ask the front desk for the key to the Exhibition of Amtrak History which is housed in the two Amtrak Express Rail Cars just behind the Inn.  Also check and see if there are events going on at the Silver Rails Event center in downtown La Plata as well.

As the Press Release says, one of the most unique subject-matter-specific art galleries in America, focusing exclusively on artistic interpretations of railroading's past, present, and future through a variety of media. Silver Rails Gallery will be a new, permanent space to display significant works of railroad artistry.

Let me emphasize that this is a permanent gallery, not just a short termed display like most galleries, and that new artists will be rotated through the gallery.  Additionally the Gift Shop is permanent as well, and a good place to purchase full-sized prints as well as photo cards, posters, and railroad images on a variety of articles.

If you arrive in La Plata and the gallery is not open, call Bob Cox at 660-956-4175 and make arrangements to see the gallery.  You won't want to miss it!

Silver Rails Gallery

109 S Gex Street

La Plata, MO 63549

660-956-4157  Bob Cox, Curator of Silver Rails Gallery

660-616-4840  Matthew Melzer

From their Website:

We are currently open to the public Monday and Friday, 10 AM - 5 PM, Tuesday through Thursday, 6 PM - 9 PM, and by appointment.   For more information, please call Bob Cox at 1-660-956-4157.

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