Special Features

O. Winston Link Museum Announced - Works of Famed Steam Locomotive Photographer to be Displayed in Roanoke, VA

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O. Winston Link's photography will remind you of a time when things seemed simpler. The New York native's stunning images juxtaposed life in rural America with the technology of the time, reminding his audience how people stayed connected for more than 100 years. Now his classic images will have a permanent home for all to see.

The Trustees of O. Winston Link's estate, in an agreement with Roanoke's Center in the Square and the History Museum & Historical Society of Western Virginia, announced the creation of the O. Winston Link Museum - the only one in the world dedicated to Link and his famous black and white images. Link captured the last days of the steam locomotive and American life around the rails in the late 1950s. The museum will be housed in the historic Norfolk & Western (N&W) Passenger Station in downtown Roanoke.

"My father wanted that," said W. Conway Link, Winston Link's son and a trustee of the estate. "He genuinely loved Virginia, in particular Roanoke and the southwestern section of the state. Of all the places, he would have picked Roanoke."

N&W Railway, which was headquartered in Roanoke, allowed Link to document the last days of the steam locomotive in photographs, motion pictures and sound recordings during the 1950s.

He is most famous for that collection and is considered one of the preeminent black and white photographers of the twentieth century. He was a pioneer among photographers because of his elaborate lighting techniques, which enabled him to take pictures of speeding trains at night as if they were standing still.

Those striking photographs will be the primary focus of the 15,000-square-foot museum. However, the museum will also house the sound recordings and some motion picture footage of the trains Link documented.

In addition, Norfolk Southern Corporation, the successor of N&W Railway, donated steam locomotive Number 1218. The Number 1218 was the last in its class of locomotives. It was frequently photographed by Link and symbolized for him, the power and magnitude of the railroad. It will be restored and then housed at the Virginia Museum of Transportation, a short walk from the N&W passenger station.

The historic N&W Passenger Station was built in 1905 and was redesigned in 1947 by famed industrial designer, Raymond Loewy. It will be restored to Loewy's design and a special addition, suitable for photography, will be built to house Link's works.

The historic station will also be home to the Roanoke Valley Visitor's Center and the Loewy Gallery. The first phase of the project, including renovations of the existing structure, should be complete by January 2003. The second phase should be complete by July 2003. For more information about how to support the museum project, please go to (http://www.centerinthesquare.org).

Center in the Square provides a free home and basic services to the Art Museum of Western Virginia, The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, the History Museum & Historical Society of Western Virginia, Mill Mountain Theatre, Opera Roanoke, Roanoke Ballet Theatre, Inc., the Science Museum of Western Virginia and Hopkins Planetarium.

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