Oliver Jensen Gallery

A room at the former Dickinson Witch Hazel bottling plant, now known as “River Valley Junction” has been transformed into the “Oliver O. Jensen Gallery”, which opened July 11, 2008. Oliver was one of the founders and chief visionary of The Valley Railroad Company and for many years President and/or Chairman of the Company.

"Over Deep River Creek" by Tom Nanos

A Dozen Miles in a Decade by Thomas J. Nanos
May 30 - October 26, 2014

The Valley Railroad / Essex Steam Train and Riverboat has been a part of Tom Nanos’ life since the mid 1970s. This exhibit records the beauty of the twelve miles of track the VRR operates. It also documents individuals who contributed to No. 3025′s rebuilding, along with some of the VRR’s people who have passed on in recent years. The exhibit features photographs captured between 2003 and 2013, using film and digital equipment in all conditions: day, night, sun, rain, snow and fog. His philosophy when it comes to photographing railroads is simple – since the trains run in virtually any weather, at any time of day or night, so do his cameras.

There will be an opening reception, free to the public,
on Friday May 30, 2014 from 5 – 8 pm

For more information, visit Tom Nanos’ Photography Blog


"A Ride Through the Countryside" by Lois Segman

Images of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
November 9 – December 29, 2013

Sponsored by The Valley Railroad Company, in collaboration with Essex Art Association members, Images of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat features artwork by members of the Essex Art Association of the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat “Becky Thatcher”. The show will run from November 9 through December 29, 2013, during the Essex Steam Train operating hours.

There will be an opening reception, free to the public, on Friday November 8, 2013 from 5 – 8 pm

For more information, visit the Essex Art Association website, or email EssexArtCt@gmail.com


One of the images from "On The Job" by Caryn B. Davis

On the Job: A Photo Essay by Caryn B. Davis
June 20 – October 27, 2013

The efforts of over 100 dedicated employees and volunteers are required to keep The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat in operation.

Caryn B. Davis has documented many them “On the Job” working at a variety of their daily tasks emphasizing the talents and skills necessary to keep antiquated machinery in top operating condition. Indeed, many of their skills are nearly obsolete, just as steam locomotives are. They preserve not only the artifacts and technology of another era, but the knowledge and trades as well.

The essay contains over 60 large format color photographs taken over a four month period in 2012 and 2013.

Caryn B. Davis is an accomplished photographer and writer whose work has appeared in over 60 magazines. She has travelled the world in pursuit of compelling images and stories. She lives and works in Chester, Connecticut where she has a studio and Gallery.

“On The Job” was designed and curated by Audrey Conrad.


"Waiting" by Lesley Braren

Images of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
November 16 – December 27, 2012

Sponsored by The Valley Railroad Company, in collaboration with Essex Art Association members, Images of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat features artwork by members of the Essex Art Association of the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat “Becky Thatcher”. The show will run from November 16 through December 27, 2012, during the Essex Steam Train operating hours.

There will be an opening reception, free to the public, on Thursday November 15, 2012 from 5 – 8 pm

For more information, visit the Essex Art Association website, or emailEssexArtCt@gmail.com


CENTRAL VERMONT RLY. EXTRA 464 NORTH MEETS EXTRA 472 SOUTH, AMHERST, MA 1954 - David Plowden

Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden
June 24 – September 5, 2011

Sponsored by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art (CRPA)Requiem for Steam is a companion show to David Plowden’s book of the same name, released by Norton in October. The exhibit features 30 of the book’s images, in addition to a select few of Plowden’s spectacular steamboat photos. The show touches upon all aspects of the steam locomotive era – - moving portraits of the machinery, the rails, and the people who worked on them – - creating an emotional tribute to the Industrial Age of America.

Passionate about trains since childhood, Plowden devoted himself to taking pictures of steam engines because he knew they were becoming obsolete. Infatuated with the “essence” of steam locomotives, he wanted to make sure they were well documented. Even though he had no intention of becoming a photographer, by his twenties, documentary and art photography had become a career. He assisted O. Winston Link and worked closely with Minor White, among other greats, to become one of the most dedicated photographers of vanishing America . . . capturing the beautiful expanses of the Great Plains, disappearing small towns, and engineering marvels from bridges to steel mills. The railroad has remained a subtle but consistent thread throughout his life’s work.

Born in Boston, David Plowden grew up in New York City and Putney, Vermont. He graduated from Yale College in 1955. Plowden has written and illustrated two-dozen books and provided photographs for many others. His work is in numerous private, corporate and museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Library of Congress, the International Center of Photography, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. www.davidplowden.com


Steam Steel and Snow - Frank Barry

Remembering Steam Locomotives by Frank Barry
June 3 - August 29, 2010

“Remembering Steam Locomotives” is an exhibit of black and white, steam locomotive photographs taken in the United States, Canada and Mexico between 1955 and 1985. The locomotives and the men who ran and cared for them are portrayed along the railroad line, in the roundhouse and in the repair shop. They are shown in urban settings and remote rural areas including deserts, rugged canyons, forests, and snowy, mountain passes. The photographs portray the essence of these majestic machines that so effectively captured the imagination of travelers, songwriters, poets and others — young and old — during the steam era.

“Remembering Steam Locomotives” contains 26 silver gelatin prints on archival paper. It was originally prepared for, and exhibited at the Herbert Johnson Art Museum at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. during the summer of 2008. The Johnson Museum brochure described the images as “beautiful and dramatic…emotional…and haunting.”

Frank Barry, born in 1937, resides in Groton, New York. He began photographing steam locomotives when he was just 9 years old and learned to develop his own film at the age of 10. He has since traveled in 20 countries on 4 continents to record steam engines on film. His photographs and articles have been published in over 50 books, magazines and newspapers. For more information, contact: fb12@cornell.edu.


NYO & W Locomotive Painting - Robert Hauschild

Locomotive Quarterly Covers by Robert Hauschild
June 25 - October 12, 2009

As the Oliver Jensen Gallery continues its mission to promote awareness of the steam locomotive through the arts, we’re certainly proud to display Locomotive Quarterly Covers by Robert Hauschild. The exhibit will feature Hauschild’s original watercolor paintings that served as covers for Locomotive Quarterly, a periodical and showcase for 1920’s – 1950’s railroad photography. “Bob’s paintings put more feeling into the locomotives than the original photos possessed”, says Dave Conrad, VP, Chief Mechanical Officer of The Valley Railroad Company. He continues, “For Bob, the photo was merely a starting point to create his impressions of the era.”


Locomotive Wheel by Brandon Dole

Pinhole Revisited / The Photography of Brandon Dole
May 13 through June 21, 2009

Featuring Brandon Dole’s pinhole technique, a historical photography process that Brandon used to record vignettes at Essex Station. It’s no wonder that Brandon Dole, Chester resident and 7th grade student at John Winthrop Middle School, would fall in love with photography. His father is Jody Dole, a professional photographer whose enthusiasm for photography is absolutely contagious.

And, caught it Brandon did – his love of pinhole photography is all his own. While pinhole photography dates back to the 1850s, Brandon enjoys exploring pinhole photography in today’s high-tech world and appreciates its simple technique.


Old 97 Saves the Day - Artwork by Gretchen Hatfield

Original Artwork for "Old 97 Saves the Day" / Gretchen Hatfield
Nov 22 through Dec 28, 2008

The original illustrations created by artist Gretchen Hatfield for the new children’s book: Old 97 Saves the Day are on display at the Oliver O. Jensen Gallery at the River Valley Junction display building adjacent to the Essex Depot.

In the book, two children on Christmas vacation discover an abandoned railroad complete with roundhouse, a steam locomotive (Old 97) and a mysterious old man who asks for their help getting the locomotive running. Along the way the children learn about railroads and how a steam locomotive works and help repair Old 97 before going on a magical trip to the North Pole and back.


Faces of the Essex Steam Train by Caryn B. Davis

Faces of Essex Steam Train & Riverboat / Caryn B. Davis
July 13 through Oct 10, 2008

The show is made up of twenty-two, large format color photographs of Essex Steam Train & Riverboat employees at their workplace. The exhibit was inspired by Davies’ “Chester, Poetry of Place” show. A committee selected the representative employees. J. David Conrad composed the scenes, scheduled the shoots and organized the lighting. The complete set of photographs can be viewed online here.