Rescued from the Brink

Rescued from the Brink

Rescued from the Brink

This is the pride of the Columbia Pacific Historical Society in Ilwaco, Washington. It is the rail car "Nahcotta" from the old Ilwaco Rail and Navigation Company railroad that operated on the Long Beach Peninsula from 1889 to 1930.

Here is part of the car’s history:

1930 – 1960s

Along with the other passenger coaches, the exteriors now painted a dark green, the NAHCOTTA was sold. There is a story from one family in Long Beach, Washington that their great aunt bought the Jackson and Sharp combination car for $50. With all the seats removed to make room for living quarters, the NAHCOTTA was used as a cottage in Seaview, Washington. By then, it was painted several shades of a pale greenish color.

1960s – 2003

In the 1960s, Henry Welzel, farmer and railroad enthusiast, acquired the NAHCOTTA, and moved it to his property in Fife, Washington. For approximately 30 years, Mr. Welzel refurbished the NAHCOTTA to the way we see it today. He painted it at least twice in various shades of red with yellow design elements.

In the interior, Mr. Welzel kept much of the original Eastlake-style woodwork. He used oak where repairs and replacements were needed. His craftsmanship was excellent as he created those pieces to the same pattern and dimensions as the original paneling and moulding. Mr. Welzel also set in a partition with an interior door creating two seating compartments. He added various items of railroad memorabilia that are not original to the NAHCOTTA. Since the original seats had been removed when the car served as a cottage, Mr. Welzel had replica Carter Brothers style seats made and installed them in the NAHCOTTA.
2003 – Present

At the bequest of Henry Welzel, the NAHCOTTA returned to Ilwaco in May 2003, where a covered courtyard and raised platform were built for its display next to the Ilwaco Freight Depot, just ½ east of the original IR&N tracks.

Now at the Museum, the NAHCOTTA plays an important role as the center piece of the region’s railroad interpretation, and embodies much of the history of the quirky railroad which continues to fascinate the public. The IR&N’s story has spawned several books, interest groups, self-guided driving tour, and an annual event: “Clamshell Railroad Days” held in July at the Museum.
The museum’s signage says:

"Outside, view the Museum’s largest artifact, the narrow gauge, passenger coach, the NAHCOTTA. Built in 1889 by the Pullman Palace Car Company of Chicago, IL. The car ran from 1889 – 1930 on the local narrow-gauge rail that came to be called the “Clamshell Railroad”. It was refurbished over three decades by the late Henry Welzel of Puyallup, WA. The NAHCOTTA train car is open only twice a year. Once during our Clamshell Railroad Days, held the third weekend in July and again during our Cranberrian Fair, held the second weekend of October."…

More of my photos of and about the Nahcotta can be seen in this Flickr album:

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