ASHLAND, Va. (WRIC) — Take a trip through downtown Ashland and you’ll find reminders of its history everywhere, from Tiny Tim’s Trains & Toys to the Red Caboose. After all, it was the RF&P Railroad that developed this community back in the 1840’s.
Well, now the town’s tribute to trains is about to go bold with a massive mural emblazoned on the expansive wall of the Caboose building. The artwork will depict a locomotive that traveled Ashland’s tracks 50 years ago.
Dan DiCandilo is spearheading the project along with Hank Lowry. “There isn’t anyone in town that doesn’t like the idea,” says DiCandilo, “So we’re really excited to beautify Ashland and do some good for Art.”
When he says Art, DiCandilo isn’t talking about the painting. He’s talking about Art McKinney, the man whose idea ignited this project. McKinney was an Ashland businessman and well-known member of the community who passed away this year after a brave battle with cancer.
“Art was a very humble man. He wouldn’t want me to say we are doing it in memory of him, he would want us to say that we did it for the town of Ashland,” explains DiCandilo.
“He would be bowled over to think that was going to get done,” adds McKinney’s widow Jerry. She’s touched by the community’s efforts to bring this dream to life.
“They’re very proud of whatever gets done in Ashland and they’re always willing to pitch in and I think they’ll be so proud of this mural and it will mean a lot to a lot of people,” says Jerry.
Richmond’s most well-known mural artist Ed Trask will be painting the project which is slated to be finished by the end of October.
It’s going to cost about $25,000. Organizers have already collected half of the money. They hope to raise the rest this Sunday, October 2nd, at the Ashland Street Party.