a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wanted: Old trolley furnishings

The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Chartiers Township, Pa., is dying to find these old leather chairs to complete an antique luxury street car it's restoring. 

By Scott Beveridge

WASHINGTON, Pa. – Big-shot railway executives lounged in over-stuffed leather chairs when they toured Ohio and beyond in a luxury Victorian parlor room on wheels in the early 20th Century.

When it was time to light up or chew tobacco, they retired to the smoking room in the 1906 Toledo Railways & Light Co. car to sit in straight-back chairs with wooden arms so as not to burn holes in fine upholstery, said Scott Becker, executive director of Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, which is restoring the vehicle.

The chairs are the missing pieces the Chartiers Township, Pa., museum would die to have to make whole this fancy trolley fitted with interior walls lined with inlaid mahogany. It found the original curtains in boxes in an Ohio transit office and will use them as patterns to create new versions to hang on windows that were purposely installed large to allow riders to view the passing scenery.

“Maybe they are somewhere in a board room in Cleveland,” Becker told the Observer-Reporter in a story published Sunday about this museum's extensive collection of old electric-powered street cars.

This wooden car possibly once made a trip to Detroit to allow exclusive guests to watch a World Series game before it became obsolete because of competition from buses, big cars and airplanes.

What is known is the car was abandoned along with the rail line it sat on near Lake Erie only to be converted there into a summer cabin at Sage's picnic grove in Huron, Ohio.

From there the Toledo landed in Cleveland in a failed attempt to open a trolley museum before the Chartiers Township tourist attraction purchased it and another car in 2009 for $35,000.

“It’s a very unique car,” Becker said. “This captures people’s imaginations about how the wealthy lived. It was an extra special car. You didn’t go to work in this car.”

The car is a top priority at this museum because it is that rare, he said.

If you or someone you know have seen the old chairs shown in the photos give the museum a ring.

In the meantime, watch the video, below, to learn more about its trolley collection:

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