Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago
was founded in 1867 to build luxury
sleeping cars for the railroad
s. Pullman's success in this venture dramatically changed rail travel
worldwide. The luxuries of a private
Pullman Palace Car included chandelier
s, electric lighting, advanced heating and air-conditioning systems, complete bath facilities, silk
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 horse
s and the world renowned Santa Anita Race Track. Clara and Anita inherited his fortune and both commissioned private railcar
s. 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
was a luxurious suite and can be likened to owning a private jet
, 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 Cuba
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.
s, Pullman build sheets and factory blueprint
s were used in the restoration of the California
by the Nethercutt Collection. Details were faithfully reproduced over a three year period. Today the California
appears as it did December 14, 1912. This restoration was dedicated to a more elegant way of life.
This information was gleaned from the Nethercutt Collection Museum in San Sylmar, California where the California currently resides in all its splendour.