By Polly Keary, Editor
When Eddie’s Trackside opened in 2006, the new owners Wendy McDowell and Stacie Ballweg had done most of the interior finish work themselves, including rock work and wood lathe ceilings.
But they did decide to bring in a painter to create the most important piece, a huge locomotive engine steaming toward the viewer from the wall over the taps.
The piece was painted by celebrated local muralist David Hose, and when Eddie’s closed last year after the building’s owner let it go into foreclosure, it was the loss of the mural that was one of the hardest blows to the former restaurateurs.
The building remained empty for a while, until a local collector of vintage arcade video games bought it outright to open an arcade and cafe.
Amid the excitement over the coming facility, some asked if anything could be done to save the murals.
Wendy McDowell learned that the murals could be saved, if they were carefully cut into pieces and removed in panels. But it would cost about $700.
Within a month, they were halfway to the goal, and drywall expert Brad Smalley went ahead and removed the mural to make way for the new arcade.
What will happen to the mural next isn’t clear.
“I have approached Monroe Arts Council about a public display for this and other David Hose pieces,” said McDowell. “I truly feel as though a museum of sorts is in order for his works; at the very least, a permanent public display. Ideas have included the Wagner Community Center, Valley General and the high school.”
Another set of Hose murals is in jeopardy, as well.
The inside walls of Hitching Post Cafe on Main Street was literally covered with Hose murals over the course of several years, many depicting regular customers, movie stars or historical scenes.
The Hitching Post went out of business, and its future is unclear.
McDowell said that she thinks those murals could be saved, as well.
“I believe the same thing can be done at the Hitching Post if the owner agrees,” she said.