Museum News | Mclean County
While researching another article, I came across this one about Owensboro artist Rex Robinson, who had painted a Point Pleasant Ferry scene. This article did not appear in my previous search for local ferries, and I found it very interesting. Originally written by Joanne Evans, it is here edited for space, from the NEWS of July 27, 1978.
“A ferry sailing on the river between McLean and Ohio counties will be remembered by the artistry of Rex Robinson long after operations at Point Pleasant Ferry near Island have ceased.
“Robinson, an artist from Owensboro, captured the McLean County ferry operation in acrylic on linen-based paper for one of his ‘assignments’ under an artist grant in residency of the Employment Training Act (CETA) guaranteed by the Green River Area Development Quartier (GRADD).
“The $12,000 grant funds the painting over the next 10 months of at least one heritage or local history image for each of the seven counties in the Green River area.
“Each of the “subjects” of the paintings, which will become the property of individual county governments and will be displayed to the public, were or will be suggested to the artist by members of the GRADD Board of Directors or county elected officials.”
“In addition to the Point Pleasant Ferry work, Robinson received approval and painted an old railroad station in Hartford for Ohio County. The work is titled ‘New Links’. An aspect of the racetrack in James C. Ellis Park and a Crowd Scene at the Union County Fair were approved for Robinson’s third and fourth paintings in the collection, which he calls his Tribute Series.Before the paintings (are) distributed to counties, the collection will be exhibited in June 1979 at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.
“The local ferry work, titled ‘The Ferry on the Green River,’ depicts the Point Pleasant Ferry approaching from the Ohio County river side, with the McLean County coastline in the background. Aboard the ferry is a red van and its driver ‘Pap’ Hoskins of Ohio County, a boat operator, stands near the front of the ship warning a young boy and his dog of the dangers of getting get too close to the edge.
“Robinson spent two days on the river side of Ohio County taking pictures of the ferry in operation to use in slides to jog his memory while painting. He estimates he spent “three weeks of 10-hour days” to complete the table.
“He chose to paint the truck on the ferry” because while I was photographing most of the motorists using the ferry, there were miners in their pickup trucks driving back and forth to coal mines in Ohio County . I added the boy and his dog to give the painting a narrative – a little story,” he said. “The ferry operators have told me that it is not uncommon for boys to take a ride on the ferry and often a dog or two wander off on the boat.”
“Robinson, a 25-year-old honor graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College, who was born in Madisonville and lived in Bremen until he moved to Owensboro as a sophomore, ‘trained’ to paint the collection of the Green River area since he got his driver’s license.”Since I was in high school and able to drive. I drove around this area looking for things to paint and got to know the different counties.” he said. “I found a lot of picture-worthy stuff.”
“Apparently no one, including two of the oldest citizens in the Island area – IG Reynierson and Raymond Nall – knows the full history of Point Pleasant Ferry, which was operated at one time or another by the Patterson, Kirtley and Crowe families of McLean County.
“‘My fondest memory is that my mother’s people used this ferry to transport their goods to this country,’ said Nall, who provided further information indicating that the ferry was in operation in the 1860s. “I arrived in McLean County in 1920 and at that time the ferry was operated by Arch Patterson,” Reynerson said. “I know it had been in operation for quite some time before that. time many years ago and if I’m not mistaken it looks like a coal company operated it for a while.The operation of the ferry has been spasmodic over the years.
“The ‘spasmodic’ operation of the ferry service is attested to by Phillip Kirtley of Island, who along with his father, Oscar B. Kirtley, operated the ferry in the 1950s. “When we started operating it, I don’t think there’s been a ferry for a while because we had to clear the trees and bushes that had grown on the road leading up to it,” Kirtley said. “It was in 1951.” The Hoskins Brothers of Ohio County currently operate the ferry.
A caption that accompanied the article stated that “the painting is one of two local heritage images Robinson completed for permanent display at a public facility in McLean County.” The second painting seems to have been that of the railway bridge at Livermore. Can anyone tell me where these two Rex Robinson paintings from 1978 are currently on display in McLean County? If so, please call the museum at 270-499-5033.
The Treasure House bag sale continues until the end of January; fill one of their bags with clothes, and the cost is just $5. Come in and get some warm clothes now, because in March winter clothes will be removed to bring spring clothes. The museum and treasure house are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — the museum from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the treasure house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please call the museum before visiting to ensure we are open. In bad weather, if the schools are closed, we are also closed. We are located at 540 Main Street, Calhoun. I wish everyone a safe week!