Douglas County Museum Restores 1883 Railcar

May 19, 2014

Restoration has begun at the Douglas County Museum in Roseburg, Ore., on an ornate railcar built for passengers and baggage.  It is one of three remaining cars of the 14 constructed in 1883 by the Harlan and Hollingsworth Company of Delaware.

The company shipped the car kit around Cape Horn and had it assembled in Portland. Steam-powered engines pulled it on the Oregon and California Railroad between the Siskiyou Mountains and Portland from 1889 to 1925. For the next decade, the Southern Pacific Railroad used the car in Glendale, Ore., for maintenance duties.

George Matthew of Glendale bought the car in 1935 and rented it for housing until 1982. It was used intermittently for maintenance or housing until Matthew’s heirs donated the car in 1997 to Glendale’s Community Action Response Team, which donated it to the Douglas County Museum in 2012.

Restoration volunteer Gary Pischke said he welcomes contributions: Swanson Group of Glendale loaned steel beams; Bennett Truck Transport hauled the rail car from Glendale to Roseburg; Lone Rock Timber Company donated the use of a crane.

Pischke said photographs and sketches are now available to begin restoration of the car’s finely crafted, Victorian interior and exterior.


Sources: Pischke, Gary. Personal interview with the author. 3 April 2014; Bringhurst, Christian. “Historic rail car’s last stop.” The News-Review, 28 June 2013 (Roseburg, Ore.): A1+.