Watercolor… Orchard Supply Hardware Boxcar OSHX-1, is a variation on a 1937, 12 panel, 40 foot, AAR (Association of American Railroads) Class X, Standard-Design steel boxcar, with its distinctive “Dreadnaught” 1-4-4, car ends. A former Southern Pacific (SP) boxcar… the manufacturer is unknown at this time. This boxcar was purchased from the “EsPee” by Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) in the early 1960’s and set off on the Southern Pacific’s OSH rail freight siding, abutting Auzerais Street in San Jose, California… essentially becoming the store’s billboard. The boxcar remained there for 50 years; in a slow transition to celebrated local landmark. In 2013, Orchard Supply Hardware donated the low mileage, OSHX-1 to the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation and it is now on display at the San Jose Steam Railroad Museum.
Orchard Supply Hardware was founded as a farmer’s co-op in San Jose, California, in 1931 by Stanley B. Smith. His son Al Smith, who had previously worked for the Southern Pacific, took over in 1962… he’s the man responsible for spotting this boxcar on their siding, and starting the long running series of OSH annual railroad calendars. Orchard Supply was acquired by Lowes Hardware in 2013 and shut down in 2018, ending the 43-year tradition. I’m grateful and honored to have been selected to illustrate the 2017 OSH Railroad Calendar. This was the cover illustration.