Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

Repairs bring new life to sculpture at train station

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Courtesy of Mike Shaffer
Mike Shaffer of Ijamsville recently restored the sculpture "Homage to An Era" at the MARC train station in Germantown. The work resembles a late 1800s farm tractor honors early farming and farm machinery indigenous. "Homage to An Era" was dedicated in 1990.

The red sculpture of a late 1800s farm tractor at the Germantown MARC train station was recently restored by Ijamsville artist Mike Shaffer.

His 8-feet tall work "Homage to An Era," was dedicated in 1990 and honors early farming and farm machinery that were used in the area at the turn of the 20th century. The steel and metal sculpture stands on a three-foot tall pedestal of timbers that resemble railroad ties.

"It was done with the history of the area in mind. Steam tractors were an important part of the later industrial revolution," he said.

"We wanted something that was bright and cheerful and something that people would look at.

It's easy to see and it stands out. It gives it a fun quality a toy quality almost," said Shaffer, President of the Board of Directors of the Hyattstown Mill Arts Project.

A friend who rides the MARC train from Boyds told him that the sculpture was in need of some care.

"The top was pushed over a little bit, it had started to break and fall apart," Shaffer said. "It wasn't really safe the way it was."

He started working on repairs in May and finished a few weeks ago.

"We'll keep an eye on it and hopefully not let it get in the shape it was before," he said.

The sculpture was funded by the Montgomery County Government and the Germantown Citizens Association; restoration money was provided by the Public Arts Trust of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, according to a statement from the council.

Back to school memories

What was it like the first time you (or your kids) boarded the school bus and left summer behind? How long did it take you to pick out the perfect back-to-school outfit? Do you have a plan for getting the best deal on school supplies? Tell us about it!

The Gazette wants to hear all your back-to-school memories, from first-day jitters and disasters, to making fast friends with your desk- or office-mate. Montgomery County Public Schools open Aug. 26, so send us your photos and share your memories by Aug. 21.

Photos and stories will be considered for print and online. E-mail us at or write to The Gaithersburg Gazette, 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877.

Go back with a blessing

Bring backpacks, briefcases or even your BlackBerry (if you can part with it) to St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Darnestown where the symbols of work will be blessed on the altar.

Blessing of the Backpacks will be at the church's 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. services on Sunday.

The Rev. Ken Howard and assistant rector the Rev. Nan Hildebrand will bless backpacks from students and other symbols of work life that adults bring in.

St. Nicholas Church is under construction on Darnestown Road. The church meets at the Seneca Academy/Circle School at 15601 Germantown Road. For more information, visit

School supply drive

The Gaithersburg/

Germantown Jaycees are collecting school supplies.

The supplies most needed are basics, including pens, pencils, paper, folders, erasers and binders. Backpacks are also needed.

The school supply collection will take place at 7 p.m. Monday during the group's membership meeting at the Bohrer Park Activity Center, 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg.

The group has collected four shopping bags full of supplies this year. A similar collection drive last year yielded six full backpacks and more than 12 shopping bags of supplies.

For more information, visit or call 301-230-4930.

Toast of the town

The Germantown Toastmasters Club will meet noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Salvation Army, 20021 Aircraft Drive, Germantown.

Admission is free, and guests may visit as often as they wish without obligation to participate or become a member.

The club helps people develop public speaking, leadership and communication skills. For more information, contact Joe Gentile at 301-972-5124 or

Campus Congratulations

‘Paul P. Potemra of Poolesville was named to the spring 2008 dean's list at Bemidji State University in Minnesota.

‘Lizeth Monsalve of Germantown was named to the spring dean's list at American University in Washington, D.C., where she is a journalism major.

‘Miroslav Nikolov of Poolesville was named to the spring dean's list at American University in Washington, D.C. She is majoring in French studies.

Submissions for People and Places must be received by 10 a.m. Thursday. Send submissions to Melissa A. Chadwick via e-mail at, fax at 301-670-7183 or mail to The Gazette, 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20877. Photos will also be considered.