Randy Welborn Studio

Castle of Imagination
circa 1954

(This image has less resolution than the print.)

Some folks remember it as the First Baptist Church of Beaumont, but most recall climbing the spiral staircase up to the children's room of the Tyrrell Public Library. Before there was a T.V. in every home, this place was truly a "Castle of Imagination" to a youngster as the worlds of Gulivar and Oz were opened to him.

On this cold, wet evening of December 2, 1954, an eleven year old with his first library card is a little late and rushes to catch the bus.

Meanwhile, a young "ranger" is transfixed by the "Red Ryder" air rifle in Walgreen's window. Perhaps there's one in the bag for him already.

Downtown will be very busy in the days ahead, but it's the last day to catch Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" at the Jefferson Theatre. Can you find the ad?

Notes from the artist:

I spent many an evening in front of Walgreen's on Pearl at Forsythe in Beaumont waiting for the Refinery bus.  The gothic style of the Tyrrell Library was very mysterious and truly was a castle of imagination. I read every sci-fi story I could by Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clark.  The classic cars in this nostalgic scene are the '54 Mercury, '47 Buick Road Master, a '55 Chevy and a close up view of that beautiful hood ornament on my '41 Cadillac Series 75.

In my research I couldn't find a picture of that neon sign on the Walgreen's store.  While in San Antonio I found a Walgreen's two blocks from the Alamo ... with that 50's era neon sign - just what I needed!

Seven years after the "good old days" scene depicted here I bought my first thermos lunch box (for my first and only real job with Westinghouse) at that very Walgreens.

Description by the Artist

Watch this video presentation by the artist describing the painting process, the research, and the hidden trivia in the painting.

The original painting is 35x28" on masonite panel, completed in 1987.

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