A Trolley Is Once Again Sighted In Oskaloosa

Brant Bollman stands in front of his trolley painting located in the alley along High Avenue West near Hunters.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – You can spot an old trolley once again in Oskaloosa, but unfortunately, it won’t take you anywhere.

Brant Bollman spent several days painting a trolley very similar to the ones that used to make their way around Oskaloosa at the turn of the 20th Century.

Bollman’s creation, on the alley wall next to Hunters, is painted near the location that the trolleys would wait during the day, boarding passengers for their next route.

Bollman worked with local historians to research the size, colors, and look of the trolleys that made their way up and down Oskaloosa’s streets, reaching out as far as Beacon along the way.

“It’s historically accurate,” explains Bollman. “It’s Number 4, which for at least a while, ran out by William Penn and back.”

“I’ve learned a lot about all the old routes and where they went in making this.”

Some of the other routes stretched out to the country club, University Park, and a line was being built to Buxton, but Buxton packed up before they could reach that community.

The Oskaloosa Traction and Light Company were located on South Market, where Cunninghams is today.

They were electric trolleys, and you could buy electricity from them, and they would run a cord to your house.

Cars were less common in those times, and people would ride the trolley to work, shop, and socialize.

The trolleys were eventually replaced by buses during the Depression era, and ultimately, that ceased to exist as cars became more common.

The act of painting the trolley had its difficulties. One of those difficulties was being able to enlarge the image onto the wall, not an easy task considering it’s located inside a cramped alley.

The finished work includes colors that are authentic to the trolleys that made their way around town.

Including Bollman, FACE of Mahaska County (Fine Arts and Cultural Events) has been working to bring works of art into the public eye.

Matt Kargol created murals installed onto the backside of the old Oskaloosa Herald building located at Market and A Avenue, among others.

FACE is also the organization that helps bring the sculpture tour to life every year, attracting artists to display their work.

A mural to John F. Lacey is the next one on Bollman’s schedule yet this year. It’s going to be located along South Market and the intersection of 1st Avenue East.

The idea of national parks was born with the Oskaloosa legislator Lacey.

“John F. Lacey grew up overlooking the Des Moines River, just out in the country. He would look out over that land and say, man, so beautiful. I wish we could save all the land like this and let everybody come out to it,” explained Bollman. “Then he ended up doing just that with Teddy Roosevelt.”

“So I really want to make a mural that lets everybody know that national parks were born in Oskaloosa in the mind of John F. Lacey, and I really hope everybody’s proud of that.”

Before he starts on the Lacey mural, Bollman intendes to rest his back awhile. “This is harder than it used to be when I was a younger guy.”

Funding for the murals has come from the Mahaska County Community Foundation; in which grants are made possible by the Iowa County Endowment Fund Legislation, which disperses funds from gambling establishments around the state.

Posted by on Aug 10 2020. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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