Wednesday, May 18, 2011

a private Pullman "palace" railcar, the century old social and economic equivalent of a private Gulfstream plane

except for the big glass case over the fine china, this private Pullman passenger car has been restored to the condition it was in before its delivery to Clara Baldwin Stocker, the woman who ordered it built and took it's delivery 99 years ago, in Dec 1912
the first few photos here aren't as luxurious as the last, and I'm guessing these were the butlers quarters

Note that the above and below photos in this sequence are two views of the same room, from different ends, and the dresser is the common point

gorgeous lighting fixtures and ceiling

the above isn't known to be, but thought to be the piano from this car, it was located 50 miles from the car when it was purchased by the musuem for restoration

this locomotive had no historical association with the Pullman car, but makes a fantastic display
330 ton, 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson high speed (90 mph) steam locomotive

Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago was founded in 1867 to build luxury sleeping cars for the railroads, their success dramatically changed rail travel worldwide. The luxuries of a private Pullman included chandeliers, electric lighting, advanced heating and air-conditioning systems, complete bath facilities, silk draperies, luxury bedding and elegant furniture.

In December of 1912, Clara Baldwin Stocker, eldest daughter of California pioneer E.J. "Lucky" Baldwin, took delivery of a Pullman railcar appropriately named the California. Lucky Baldwin's fortune came from mining shares, real estate, race horses, hotels and the world renowned Santa Anita Race Track. Clara and Anita inherited his fortune and both commissioned private railcars. Clara's car was beautifully decorated in a modern style with cream and gold painted staterooms, rather than the usual dark wood grained walls and ceilings. The railcar must have been an imposing and awe inspiring sight, resplendent in maroon, red, gold leaf striping and lettering with polished brass railings and grab handles.

The California, as ordered by Mrs. C.B. Stocker, had a floor plan that was very versatile, spacious and comfortable. It has one double large bedroom and two smaller staterooms for two. The large combination dining and observation room was paneled in elegant Cuban Mahogany and the private rooms were painted in cream and gold. The servant's section, including the passageway, was quarter-sawed native oak, which was dramatically different from the beautiful mahogany used in the family section. Beautiful decorative leaded glass adorned every window in the California, except in the servant's quarters. Information from

for a much better gallery of the Pullman car, look at the photos Justacargal took:


  1. The link to the Just A Car Gal blog no longer goes to an active page. Thanks for sharing info on this car... it is appreciated!!!

  2. Pianino. That's the name of the musical instrument.

    1. Oh thank you! How the world did you know that?