Monday, February 4, 2019

Saint Pete's Roman Catholic Church

After sketching at the Lynching Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, I wandered the empty streets in search of another subject. I settled in to sketch Saint Pete's Roman Catholic Church, but discovered the major problem of using a digital sketchbook on location... the battery dies.

A small wooden church was built on the site in 1833 and was dedicated in 1834.  A brick building which is part of the present structure was built in 1852. The current Spanish style tower and facade were added in 1882.

After the battery died I searched for a lunch spot where I might be able to recharge. I found Chris' Hot Dogs which was opened by a Greek immigrant in 1917. Until the 1960s he offered curb side service which resulted in long lines of cars waiting to be served. The dogs are served with a secret chili sauce only known by a few family members. Millions of customers were served in the first 10 decades. President Franklin D. Roosevelt often ordered boxes of hot dogs when his presidential train traveled through town. Other presidents included Truman and George Bush one and two. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Hank Williams Jr., and Elvis Presley all sampled these delicious hot dogs. My two dogs were soggy with chili sauce, but quite good. People in the know, lined up at the bar and had their dogs within minutes.  I sat at the bar, which reminded me of the many bars in the south where sit-ins were held during the civil rights era.

I eventually found a plug in a public park, but by the time the pad was recharged, I decided I didn't have time to go back to complete the sketch. It had to stay the way it was. It shows my loose thought process early in a sketch before details are added.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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