Saturday was a bit blustery, but that didn’t keep J&K Welding and Fabrication of Belington from installing a train engine-inspired bike rack at the Pocahontas County Artisans Co-op in the Marlinton Depot.
Trains may never return to town, but this engine will remind visitors of a time when they did. The creators – husband and wife team of Joseph and Sara Kirk, along with son Ethan – recently started their fabrication business with Sara designing the piece and Joseph and Ethan doing the fabrication and welding.
When the Co-op decided it wanted to provide a bike rack for visitors, members searched for artisans who could create a practical and artistic rack. Member Woody Harman was the first to discover a photo of a train engine shaped bike rack made by J&K for the Elkins Depot.
“It was like the perfect fit,” Co-op member Brenda Harman said.
The Co-op contacted the Kirks and set everything in motion.
“It’s sort of a historic day for the former railroad town of Marlinton,” Kathy Lehotsky said. “The Depot is one of the most historic places still functioning in the town. It is fitting that a sculpture of a train that will also function as a bike rack will be installed there.”
The Co-op’s rack is the second one made by J&K, but the family hopes to increase its business in the state and create more artistic representations of the past for locals and visitors to enjoy.
Joseph is employed as a full-time traveling welding and fabricator, and Sara works with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. She is also a professional artist and serves on the Barbour County Humanities and Arts Council, The Belington Revitalization Committee and the Arts Center’s Arts Education Committee.
Along with plans to create more bike racks, the business also creates fire pits and garden sculptures, as well as providing repairs for antique farm equipment and other fabrication needs.