Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago was founded in 1867 to build luxury sleeping cars for the railroads. Pullman's success in this venture dramatically changed rail travel worldwide. The luxuries of a private Pullman Palace Car included chandeliers, electric lighting, advanced heating and air-conditioning systems, complete bath facilities, silk draperies, luxury 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 horses, hotels and the world renowned Santa Anita Race Track. Clara and Anita inherited his fortune and both commissioned private railcars. 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 today.

The California, 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 Cuban Mahogany 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.

Original manuscripts, photographs, Pullman build sheets and factory blueprints 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.

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