When asked why he started wood carving Dick said it was simply a business decision. In the early 1960s he was remodeling Kreitner's Restaurant with the aid of his good friend, the eminent local artist Joseph Stegner, and Stegner's design for the store front included over the door, a carved wooden eagle. It looked great in the picture, but Dick knew he could never afford it. Joe's solution was simple and "Carve it yourself." Dick replied, "Do you really think I can?" Joe said, "Of I'll draw a sketch and help you get started."Start he did, and it really looked like an eagle! He was hooked on woodcarving. Over the years he has stuck close to the American eagle,drawing his inspiration especially from the ship carvers of the nineteenth century. Since that first eagle on the restaurant's façade he has carved over three dozen in various sizes, some of which are exhibited in the Torrey Gallery of the Wayne County Historical Society's main museum. You can also see a few smaller items, some of his wood carving tools, and an eagle in progress. Most of his work has been in white pine, largely because it is readily available, but he's tried most any wood set down on his workbench.
Dick credits his genes for his love of working with his hands. His father,Louis
"Doc" Kreitner, was an accomplished carpenter and cabinet maker,and
his mother, Bernice Kreitner, was a skilled seamstress and designer at Katz
Underwear. He still claims he can't draw a straight line and that he just starts
with a block of wood and cuts off everything that doesn't look like an eagle.
But looking at what he has made, one suspects that this
description leaves a few steps out.
Also included in this exhibit are several pieces of furniture made by Alanson Blood (1806 – 1885), a Honesdale cabinet maker and a hand made cherry organ made from 1851 to 1853 by Calkins, Wayne County resident Charles Lovelass.
The exhibit will hang through 2006 and can be seen Wednesday through Saturday form 00 AM to 4:00 PM and Sundays, noon to 4:00 PM, June 25th through October. A small entrance fee is charged to non member adults. For more information about the Wayne County Historical Society go to www.WayneHistoryPA.org or call 570 253-3240.