Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace traveled the country for 50 years. Beginning in 1898 with its dedication at Rochester, New York, car 5 brought hope, enlightenment, and religion to hundreds of communities. Some visits were short and others were longer but by length of service the greatest impact was in the Pacific Northwest. From the first visit to Pasco, WA in August 1915 to retirement at south Everett in the summer of 1948, the chapel car spent nearly 33 years in Washington and Oregon. It also made brief visits to Idaho and California.
The Messenger of Peace’s early years in Washington were widespread and interesting. From research conducted by Norman and Wilma Taylor, we have learned a few colorful details about early visits to a variety of communities:
Car 5 visited Spokane in April 1916 where Pastor Thomas R. Gale described the church as “nearly dead, a hard proposition.”
A month long visit to Deer Park began on May 21, 1916 where the Reverend Gale provided evangelistic services and helped build a church building. This community on the Great Northern Railway was home to more than a dozen saw mills and was on what was Daniel Corbin's Spokane Falls and Northern Railway.
The remote logging communities of Wilburton and Mid Lakes received three weeks of attention from the Messenger of Peace in November and December 1916. These communities were on the Northern Pacific Railway’s belt line along the west shore of Lake Washington that until recently carried the Spirit of Washington dinner train, and fuselage sections for 737-900 aircraft unable to clear close clearances in Renton. Today, both settlements are a part of Bellevue and are anything but remote.
The bustling metropolis of Renton was another stop for car 5 in late 1916 where Reverend Gale described, “a mining camp [with] deplorable religious conditions.” Coal mines were the core of Renton’s economy in that era and churches were not plentiful.
In January 1917 the chapel car visited Issaquah for 6 weeks during a dreadfully difficult time for the community. The alien property custodians had also just arrived in town to seize what was left of a German-backed chemical plant. Adding to that was a layoff at the local Superior Coal mine. Messenger of Peace soldiered on to revive not only the Baptist church but the Methodists as well.
By March the car moved on to North Bend to help the First Baptist Church of North Bend, which continues today at the North Bend Community Church. Hear what Pastor Pete Battjes had to say on a recent visit to the Snoqualmie Depot:
The Messenger of Peace went on to visit hundreds of communities throughout the Northwest. It touched the lives of thousands of people yet its stories are nearly forgotten. The rehabilitation and restoration of chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace will help preserve and revive this exciting history. Please help support the effort by voting for the Messenger of Peace today and every day until May 12 at www.partnersinpreservation.org
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The chapel car is a pretty exciting project. Win or lose, it is getting a lot of attention. Check out what local officials had to say about the chapel car:
The chapel car was built in 1898 and served the American Baptist Publication Society for 50 years. Retired in 1948, the car had an after-life as a road side diner, cottage, and is now set to be rehabilitated to become a museum exhibit.
Chapel cars helped settle communities and develop the west. They helped establish community values in far-flung settlements, promote the Railroad YMCA, and revive congregation. Their story is nearly forgotten but now a surviving example - with your help - will be rehabilitated and used to tell their story.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Between now and May 12, a public vote is helping determine the outcome of Partners in Preservation Seattle Initiative. 25 historic properties in the Puget Sound Region are competing for a share of $1 million. Chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace is one of the properties and, if it is selected for an award from Partners in Preservation, the Museum will have enough funding to allow substantial completion of the chapel car rehabilitation.
Check out the Museum's promotional video:
So what is Partners in Preservation? The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Express Foundation created this initiative five years ago and have run the program in San Francisco, Chicagoland, New Orleans, and Boston. Local projects are pre-vetted and a short list is presented to the public for a vote. The top vote-getter receives full funding. Additional projects are selected for funding by a committee set up by the National Trust and American Express; for those projects the total number of votes will be a consideration.
The Northwest Railway Museum is delighted to learn that Partners in Preservation has selected the railroad chapel car to compete for funding in the Seattle initiative. This is the first railroad car and railway museum to be involved in this five-year-old initiative, and the program is an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of this little-known but impactful part of history. In all, 25 projects are competing for a share of funding; project values range from $65,000 to $125,000. The Chapel Car is competing for $100,000.
Chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace was built by Barney and Smith in 1898 and served the Baptist Publication Society, Baptist Home Mission Society and the Railroad YMCA for fifty years. It operated in at least 11 states and traveled extensively in the Pacific Northwest. After retirement, it was used in several creative ways from 1948 until 2006 including as a roadside diner, seaside cottage, and an unlicensed pharmaceutical distribution facility. In 2007 it was donated and moved to the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, Washington.
The chapel car requires extensive rehabilitation and restoration to return it to the glory of its period of significance. The Save America’s Treasures grant awarded in December 2009 will combine with a Washington State Historical Society grant, funding from 4Culture and private contributions to allow carbody work to begin. Partners in Preservation funding, if awarded, will allow substantial completion of the project including fabrication of missing pews for the sanctuary.
To learn more and vote, visit http://www.trainmuseum.org/ Be the chapel car's saviour - vote today and every day until May 12!
Monday, April 5, 2010
Construction has been underway since early January; progress was detailed here and here. They were designed by Seattle's MillerHull Partnership and constructed by Mr. K's Construction of North Bend. Come and check them out! Enjoy some coffee or tea at one of the great businesses across the street such as Koko Beans or Isadora’s. When you’ve finished, the new City of Snoqualmie public restrooms can take care of your wee!