As part of a larger placemaking initiative spearheaded by the Shorewood Public Art Committee, the village will unveil its newest attraction, the “ghost train” on Halloween night.
[caption id="attachment_135206" align="alignright" width="300"] An old photograph of the Twin Cities 400 passing over the Oak Leaf Trail bridge in Shorewood.[/caption]
Meant to mimic an old passenger train called the “Twin Cities 400” that passed over the Oak Leaf Trail bridge above Capitol Drive in Shorewood twice each night from 1935 to 1963, the ghost train will include LED lights programmed for a 30-second light show and speakers that will emit sounds “reminiscent of a train” twice each evening at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to replicate the old train’s schedule, said Pat Algiers, a member of the Public Art Committee and chair of the Ghost Train Committee.
The attraction cost $375,000 to install and will debut at 7 p.m. on Oct. 31 during a “first run” celebration for the general public that will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in front of the Culver’s of Shorewood on East Capitol Drive.
A second celebration will follow the train’s debut from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the new Metro Market on North Oakland Avenue that will include a costume party and contest. The installation’s designer and a member of the Shorewood Historical Society will be there to answer questions.
The cost of the project was covered by private donors and contributions from local businesses.
The Shorewood Public Art Committee has been working closely with the Shorewood Historical Society in recent years to form a partnership called Public Art Shorewood. The partnership has been identifying different locations around the village where they plan to install public art installations as part of a larger plan that will eventually include the development of a mobile app with historical information about each installation.
The initiative, which has yet to be named, so far includes the ghost train, a sculpture by artist Jaume Plensa at Atwater Park and a 12-foot-tall sculpture made by Wisconsin artist Narendra Patel of a family outside the Shorewood Public Library.
Algiers said 15 sites have been identified by the partnership as potential locations for public art installations.
“Our overall vision in terms of Public Art Shorewood is that those who live in Shorewood and those who visit Shorewood are greeted as they arrive and as they leave or on a daily basis by a placemaking installation,” Algiers said. “We have thoughts of the future to have an app with a map between each of these locations and you would be able to get your Fitbit steps in by walking between them. Our vision is to have an app then that tells the historic significance and the way in which it was created for each of these.
Members of the Public Art Committee and the Historical Society are hoping the placemaking initiative will eventually draw visitors from around the city and become a local tourist attraction.