A painting by iconic Chattanooga artist George Little of the Union Station has found a new home with a railroad lover in Florence, Ala.
John Bonney, who is originally from England, has been living in the USA for over 20 years.
He says of his train passion, "My hobbies are railroads and model railroads, and I have traveled all over the world by train, including from Seattle, Wash., to Boston, Mass. I love Chattanooga and its connection to the railways, and have often taken my children there, staying at the Choo Choo and riding on the Tennessee Valley Railroad.
"I also collect railroad memorabilia, anything to do with trains, including the original ticket office sign from Union Station in Chattanooga.
"Recently my two sons Jack and Justin (they are two thirds of my 17-year-old-triplets) noticed a painting in the window of an art gallery in Huntsville, Ala., and went inside to ask about it. They were told that it was painted by George E. Little in the 1970s, and is of the old Union Station in Chattanooga.
"They very kindly bought it for me as a gift and I am in the process of hanging it in my house."
Mr. Bonney was excited to find a photograph in Chattanoogan.com of artist Little painting the work out of the back of his station wagon. It was taken by longtime Chattanoogan.com photographer Wes Schultz. He also learned more from other Chattanoogan.com articles.
Mr. Bonney said, "My curiosity made me start to do a little research and I found three articles from your newspaper archives. The first was an absolute delight, in that it contained a photograph of Mr. Little actually painting that same picture in the winter of 1970/71.
"A little more digging took me to an article that told about the man himself.
"Finally, another article also mentions the painting: 'He also captured scenes of historical significance which later disappeared, such as the Union Station. His painting of the depot was displayed in the restaurant in the basement of the Tallan Building, and was framed with boards taken from the depot.' "
Wes Schultz, in an article by Harmon Jolley, recalled taking the Little photograph. He said, "It was taken winter of 1970-1971, just before I went to the Army. I was just walking around downtown, and in this case around the empty Union Station, when I saw a bearded man in a station wagon unloading buckets of water and pouring then onto the concrete in the rear shed area.
"We talked, and I asked about the buckets of water. It was then he explained he was George Little the painter, and that earlier, he had started a painting of the shed area after a rain and there were puddles. So, when he came back to finish painting, he had to create his own puddles. In the photo he is painting out of the rear of the station wagon."