Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sacramento Station Mural

From: "David Rallis" amralli@fresno.k12.ca.us, bigdogdaver@yahoo.com
Subject: Sacramento CPstation Mural

I am a fourth grade teacher in Fresno and will soon be taking 100 4th graders to Sacramento by train. As a historian, I have been appointed to do a walking tour of Old Sacramento and have always started my tour at the mural in the train station. Could you give me some information about the mural:

1. When was the building (station) built, when was the mural done, and who was the artist?

2. Who are the persons depicted in the mural (I know the big four and Theodore Judah, but I don't know their positions on the mural).

3. Any other backgroud information of interest that you may pass on to me to make the presentation more interesting and historic.

I would certainly appreciate as much help as you can give me.

—David Rallis


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The following information may be helpful:

Artist's study for the Mural
Visit in Sacramento
For Teachers
Interactive Transcontinental Railroad Game
Children's Book Online
History Readings
Available Books for Children
Amtrak Trip
Service Interruption

3/27/2007 2:50 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin Bunker" mikadobear45@yahoo.com

You will find a relevant information file about this mural by San Francisco murlaist John McQuarrie in the archives of the California State Railroad Museum Library as well as files on the Southern Pacific (Amtrak) depot, built in the mid-1920s. The Library can be reached by email or phone ... see their website for further information.

A word about the MacQuarrie mural: it is – like most murals and commissioned artworks – an idealized scene, and depicts the first turning of earth to launch the Pacific Railroad's eastward leg on a sunny day when, in fact, the day was cold, drizzly and held after a blinding rainstorm the day before. It was so wet on that January 1863 day that the unpaved streets of Sacramento were nothing but sopping mud, and the railroad officers had to throw down a great deal of hay straw to provide reasonably dry footing for those assembled. The soil which leland Stanford turned with his ceremonial spade was actually dry dirt brought in by a special wagon load that morning from outside the city; turning a shovelful of mud might have been a bit less auspicious!

Your young students might learn a good amount of contextual information if you manage to work in a little study about how big construction projects are traditionally kicked-off, and then "wrap" the lesson by visiting and examining the even more romanticized "Last Spike" painting inside California State Railroad Museum's Great Hall.

3/28/2007 12:36 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "John Snyder" johnsnyder@onetel.com

1. The station was built in 1925 to a design by the San Francisco architectural firm Bliss & Faville. It had been designed earlier, but construction was delayed by American entry into WW I and then had to wait until the U.S. Railroad Administration returned the railroads to private control after the war. The artist of the mural was John McQuarrie of San Francisco, who painted murals in numerous S.P. and U.P. stations, and who was also a sculptor of monuments such as the Donner Party Memorial at Donner Lake.

—John Snyder, White Ensign Models

3/29/2007 11:16 AM  

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