Chapel Car 5 Messenger of Peace masthead

Messenger of Peace home
Short history of the car
Living in the chapel car
Car 5 travels
Saving car 5
Moving to Snoqualmie
Funding the project
References and more

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Rehabilitation of the chapel car

The Messenger of Peace is over 114 years old. In that time, there has been use, abuse, repairs, changes, and natural deterioration of the car.

The process of rehabilitating the car began by examining its current condition, evidence of changes (either intentional or unintentional), and carefully considered its long term conservation. As with many rehabilitations, there have also been some elements of restoration as missing features required to present the car in its period of significance were returned to the car. As of December 2012, details awaiting completion, subject to additional funding, include end platform railings, pews, and lighting.

The Museum applied the Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as a collection care standard. Notwithstanding, Federal funding and the car's listing on the National Register of Historic Places requires adherence to the Standards. The work plan for the chapel car was reviewed for adverse affect by the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation.

The Museum has successfully applied these standards to a variety of other projects too including the Snoqualmie Depot, and SP&S Coach 218.

Period of significance

Museum researchers considered the chapel car's various uses and configurations. Research also looked at where the car traveled and minor changes in how the car was used.

  1. Chapel car as delivered, 1898
  2. Chapel car with minor lettering, lighting and safety appliance changes, 1910 - 1925
  3. Chapel car with exterior sheet metal siding, circa 1925 - 1948
  4. Roadside diner, 1948 - circa 1970
  5. Backyard cabana, 1971 - 1985
  6. Beachside cottage, 1985 - 2000
  7. Various unlicensed applications, 2000 - 2006

For the Northwest Railway Museum, the car is more significant as a chapel than as a roadside diner or cottage. In addition, the car has particular significance to the Museum and local community when it traveled through Snoqualmie in 1917 on it way to North Bend. So the chapel car has been rehabilitated with elements of restoration to its appearance in March 1917. There are in fact few details to distinguish the appearance of the chapel car during the period from 1898 - circa 1930 when exterior sheet metal was applied. Known changes in the era include lettering style, location of air brake valve (moved when new brake rigging standards were applied circa 1910), addition of hydrocarbon (gasoline) lighting and gasoline staorage, and minor repairs necessitated by a 1922 kitchen fire.

Scope of Work

This general outline addresses major issues.

  • The project began by repairing and replacing damaged structural elements including side sills, platform and draft sills, and window posts. Work required extensive dismantling of the car's facade, both inside and outside
  • Window locations were restored to their original locations when the car was used as a chapel car. Related missing window stops and moldings were replaced inkind
  • Exterior siding and related moldings were repaired or replaced as necessary and reinstalled
  • The tern-type roofing was replaced. Underlying wood roof deck was repaired as required
  • Interior paneling was removed, repaired or replaced as required, and reinstalled
  • Five rows of missing pews were replaced
  • Replica gasoline lamps were produced and installed
  • Missing hardware including baggage racks and platform railings will be sourced or manufactured as funds allowed. Do you want to help? Make a donation here!

Work progress has been detailed on the Museum's blog and individual posts are linked on the reference page.

Chaple car circa 1922


Messenger of Peace preservation, rehabiliation and interpretation are programs of the Northwest Railway Museum
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