Link historian to visit Friends of the Library

July 18, 2013

Are you still a child at heart when it comes to trains? Are you interested in photography? Then plan to attend the upcoming monthly meeting of the Friends of the Ashe County Public Library at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 24.

Bill Arnold of Salem, Va., a volunteer with the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke, will present a slide show on Mr. Link’s black and white photography of the steam engines of the Norfolk & Western Railway.

Arnold knows a thing or two about railroads. He grew up with a dad who worked for the Norfolk and Western Railroad in Radford, Va., and learned about trains at an early age. He retired from General Electric in Salem after 39 years of service in marketing as a sales engineer.

Bill and his wife Ellen worked with O. Winston Link during his frequent visits to Roanoke from 1987 until Mr. Link’s death in January 2001. They are quite active at the Link Museum and are called on to provide information concerning Link and his photographs at many functions at the museum. They also volunteer at the Link Museum gift shop. Collectively, they have over 4,000 hours of volunteering at the Museum since it opened in January 2004.

Bill and Link worked closely together in the years prior to Link’s death to provide a history and photo exhibit for the Virginia Association of Museums. That slide presentation has allowed Bill to elaborate on how and why Link created his photographs, and Bill has been invited to discuss the life and career of Link to historical and civic organizations throughout the mid-Atlantic state.

Link had a lifelong love of tools and especially photography. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Link, as a teen, built his own photographic enlarger and went to work at a local photo shop. In college, he majored in civil engineering. However, he didn’t pursue an engineering career; instead, upon graduation he was offered a job as a photographer for a public relations firm in New York City.

With the outbreak of World War II, Link worked for Columbia Institute Laboratory on Long Island where he performed secret war research for the U.S. Government. Columbia’s labs were in front of the Long Island Railroad at which point Link’s interest in steam locomotives was rekindled and he began taking photos of these iron horses.

The Friends of the Ashe County Public Library is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization composed of library supporters who provide many hours each month as advocates and volunteers. Financial support comes through the sale of donated books, baskets and basket materials sold through the Friends’ Gift Shop located in the library. All donations and funds generated through the Gift Shop return to the library in the way of additional programs and services. Annual individual membership is only $5 per year; lifetime memberships are $100.

Please join the Friends as we welcome Mr. Arnold and his wife to the library at 11a.m. Wednesday, July 24, in the downstairs Friends’ Community Room. The public is invited and light refreshments will be available.