Our Stagecoach Is Missing!

Sep 22, 2013 | 2 comments

Up Our Staircase

Looking Up Our Staircase

There is a large empty space on the wall at the top of our staircase.  Well, almost empty.  I’ve hung a sign there that says “FITZPATRICK DRAWING ON LOAN TO CPHM.”  Just in case anyone wonders.

For at least a decade, the Charles Fitzpatrick pen and ink has hung at the top of our stairwell.  It’s a very large piece in a handsome wooden frame and dominates the dozens of photographs nearby.  The stairs with their cranberry colored carpet are steep and dramatic in themselves but, when that drawing is in place, it is impressive, indeed.  It’s often the “setting” that news photographers choose to photograph someone in the household they are interviewing.

Interestingly, I have only one photo of the stairway and its pictures and that particular view doesn’t include the Fitzpatrick drawing at all.  (Note to self:  remedy that situation when the drawing is returned.)  That will be a while – not until after January 5, 2014.  That’s when the “Charles Fitzpatrick: Pen and Photo” exhibit closes.  It opens this next Saturday, September 28th.

Betsy Millard, the Heritage Museum’s Director, came to get the drawing day before yesterday.  I held my breath as she came down the stairs with it, leaning well into the banister for stability.  No worries.  With a little maneuvering – folding down seats and moving Maisie’s car carrier and Maisie into the front passenger seat, the picture fit into the back of Betsy’s SUV perfectly.

Stage on beach, pen and ink by Charles Fitzpatrick CPHM 2005-25-146

Fitzpatrick Stagecoach Drawing

I can’t wait to see the show.  Betsy pointed out that this particular scene is a moonscape and that the museum has a similar view that is a ‘sunscape.’  I don’t know if the plan is to hang them side by side or, at least, near one another, but I will surely be looking for the ‘other one.’  (Actually, he did a number of stagecoach pictures, each a little different from the others.)

Also, I will be looking for one of Charles Fitzpatrick’s almost-relatives (he was adopted)  who is coming here especially for the opening of the exhibit.  She is Patricia Ash and has been in touch with me for several months.  (Because of my mentions of Fitzpatrick in a blog?  Or was it because of one of my books?  I’ve forgotten…)  We have agreed to meet at the opening reception this Friday night.  She is writing a biography about her prolific relative and I am eager to talk with her.

For those who don’t know, Charles Fitzpatrick came to the Peninsula in 1927 and spent the next 40 years here photographing and drawing subjects that interested him.  He left a legacy of postcards, photographs and drawings of the area – its landscapes, industries, people, and even its history such as the stagecoach which, by his time here, was but a memory in stories told by old-timers.  He was a visual historian to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude – especially those of us interested in really seeing the past.

The opening reception for “Charles Fitzpatrick: Pen and Photo” is from 5:00 to 7:00 this coming Friday.  I can’t wait!


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    How exciting the show will be and a must see! Your stage coach picture evokes a time and place. Perhaps my great-grandmother was inside!

  2. Caroline Miller

    Looks like you have a real work of art there. I’m envious.


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