Local artist adds flair to the Whistle Stop


BUCKHANNON — A local painter is right on track with her newest project at 23 N Spring Street in Buckhannon. Aside from the train that drives right by the Whistle Stop Bar and Grill, Buckhannon native Sheri Gaudet is bringing another locomotive to town.

Gaudet is currently in the process of executing a large-scale mural of a train over the next couple of weeks on the front side of the local pub. She began Sunday and anticipates the project taking a couple of weeks. Gaudet is free handing the piece and merely looking at a photo for reference. She has completed several other large-scale projects at West Virginia Wesleyan College, as well as Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, where most of her pieces are on display through various murals.

In 1986, Delores Hayes and her husband purchased the little shoe repair shop where the Whistle Stop currently stands and transformed it into a restaurant and bar. The next question was, what about a name? Hayes’ daughter, Melissa Ward told The Record Delta, she and her older brother Terry Crouse were sitting around deliberating on the establishment’s name when the train came by. Ward explained, “We were sitting here trying to figure out a name when we first started to open and the horn blew and he said, ‘What about the Whistle Stop?’” Nostalgic train and railroad items are on display inside the bar and grill and as customers sit on the outside deck, they can see and hear the train go by as its tracks are only a few feet away.

Ward explained that many years ago, a local group known as the ‘Hoots’ met at the Whistle Stop and they had Gaudet make a painting of the establishment as a gift for Ward, which is how she originally learned Gaudet was an artist. That particular painting remains displayed inside the bar.

In addition to the train, Gaudet will also be finalizing a complete scene around the locomotive, making it resemble a postcard. “The Whistle Stop” will be displayed in a graffiti style, according to the artist. By Tuesday, Gaudet had put in approximately 20 hours of work. She anticipates finishing the train portion by Thursday.

Although Gaudet’s biggest piece completed was a depiction of the life of Jesus on an 8’x80’ wall, this is also a very large project, she noted. Scaffolding will arrive this week, so she can start on the scenery around the train. Gaudet said she is happy to be able to do what she loves.

For the last 16 years, Ward, and now with the help of her three daughters—Chantal, Hannah and Sarah—have transformed the menu and atmosphere into what it is today. One of their most popular menu items is the “Big Train” burger. They also offer a gourmet “Burger of the Week” which comes out every Thursday that is very popular, Ward added. The Whistle Stop has several specialty burgers, loaded fries and onion rings, melts, and wings with several sauces to choose from in addition to smoked meats. Customers can check out their Facebook page “Whistle Stop Bar and Grill” for their featured menu items of the week, as well as view the entire menu.

The Whistle Stop Bar and Grill is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3.a.m. All aboard the Whistle Stop! Blow off some steam and check out the newest train in town by local artist Sherry Gaudet.

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