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San Diego (John Stobart)
San Diego (John Stobart)
Autumn at Great Falls Station (Paul McGehee)

"Autumn at Great Falls Station" by Paul McGehee. Passengers prepare to board the streetcar at Great Falls, Virginia after a day at the park in the early Fall of 1917. After the turnaround, electric trolley car #3 of the Great Falls & Old Dominion Railway would take them on a 45-minute ride (along what is now Old Dominion Drive), back through the woods to McLean, on up through stops at Glebe Road Crossing in Arlington, to Lee Highway (now Langston Boulevard), stopping at Cherrydale, and finally stopping at Roslyn and Georgetown at the Car Barn of the Aqueduct Bridge (where Key Bridge now stands). The electric streetcar line had been built out to Great Falls in 1906, opening on the 4th of July to much fanfare as a direct route to one of the most beautiful natural attractions in the country, Great Falls on the Potomac River. The trolley cars ran this route for locals and tourists alike who wanted to witness the beauty of the Falls, along with enjoying the small amusement area that had been built there which included a carousel, play area, dining pavilion and picnic grounds. It was a wonderful way for folks of the National Capital region to spend a day, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, if only for a few hours. The Great Falls & Old Dominion Railway was built by two men, John McLean (publisher of The Washington Post) and West Virginia coal and rail tycoon Stephen Wilkins. The GF & OD offered a regular daily service from Georgetown to Great Falls, and later Roslyn to Great Falls when the old Aqueduct Bridge was shut down, later to be demolished as Key Bridge was being built in the early 1920's. Old folks fondly recall their families heading out to the falls on the streetcar for a picnic back when they were little kids. It all came to an end, however, when the railway succumbed to hard times and competition with the automobile...and it was all over by 1934-35. The old roadbed for the tracks was cleared and paved over and became Old Dominion Drive in the mid-to-late 1930's. The next time you are driving that tree-lined road out to McLean and the Falls, try to imagine the way it once must've appeared, with tracks and streetcars coursing along. We will never see those peaceful, bucolic days again. "Autumn at Great Falls Station" is faithfully reproduced as an archival-quality print from McGehee's original color pencil and acrylic artwork, each hand-signed by the artist. Print image size: 10 1/2" x 19 3/4".

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