Restoration of the Interior of a Pullman Car in Lubbock, TX

Restoration of the interior of a Pullman car in Lubbock, TX!  Contact AAE1@NTS-OnLine.Net for details.  Make your contribution$ to the Lubbock Heritage Society; Pullman Project; 2301 Broadway, Lubbock, TX.

For the past few years, the Lubbock Heritage Society has been raising the funds to move the Underwood family Pullman Car from its longtime resting place at 26th and Avenue C to the Bayer Museum of Agriculture as a permanent educational exhibit that tells the story of the development of the West Texas cotton industry and the experience of midcentury passenger train travel.  Finally, we were able to raise the $107,000 it took to crane-lift this 80-ton classic Pullman onto a tow truck and transport it to the Museum.  It was a very successful ordeal!

Now that the car is positioned at the Museum, we are concentrating on restoring the exterior of the car and are encouraged by the response to our efforts.  We think we will be able to remove the rust, patch the steel, refurbish the stairways, restore the 32 window frames, and paint the car this autumn, then we will get down to what I think is the most exciting part of the project:  Restoration of the Interior of this Pullman Car.

 

Arch Underwood, (Louise Underwood’s father-in-law) purchased this 1925 Pullman & brought it to Lubbock in 1950 to travel and conduct business for the inland cotton compress industry.  He was a masterful lobbyist & knew almost everyone who was anyone in national politics.  He knew Presidents FDR and Harry Truman.  He entertained Senator Lyndon Johnson, Sam Rayburn, Jim Wright, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Vinson & many other influential politicians on this car.  The brass plaques he mounted in their honor are still part of the interior.  We think they will serve as a meaningful touchstone to the story of West Texas agricultural politics for tours of the car.

The car also has many accessories that still have the Pullman imprint on them.  Railroad professional, Bruce Carswell, insists the Underwood Pullman is the most complete with original details he has ever seen, & we are eager to restore it all to its best condition — the beds, tables, bathrooms, kitchenette, fans, lights, windows, shades & everything else the car still holds from those times.  This car is a treasure trove of wonderful period appointments.

Underwood renamed the car The Fair Deal.  Originally, the car was named the Gainsborough and was one of twenty luxury cars built in 1925, in the heyday of the Pullman Company.  It was part of a fleet of Pullmans used on the Twentieth-Century Limited from New York to Chicago & the Orange Blossom Special and other trains taking people to Florida for the winter season.   We want to discuss the pleasures of passenger  train travel in the early 20th century &celebrate the ingenious engineering of this car.  Really, it feels very Japanese in its close-quarter efficiencies!

The cost to fully restore the interior of the Underwood Pullman is $150,000.  Please consider supporting our efforts.  Arch Underwood modified two compartments to make a large gathering space for his family & took his children and grandchildren to Disneyland on this car in 1959.  The whole family took a vacation on the Pullman at least once a year.  When Underwood wanted to travel for business or pleasure, he just called the Santa Fe RR, hooked up his Pullman to the train, & off he went.  It was definitely the good life!

We think that the Underwood Pullman Car is going to be an exciting tourist attraction for the Bayer Museum & will bring a new set of visitors to Lubbock who are interested in railroad history.

The Windmill Museum has just opened a new building with an elaborate display of model trains, & of course, Slaton has restored its historic Harvey House.  These attractions, plus the Underwood Pullman Car, could make Lubbock County a new & meaningful destination for train aficionados.  In the meantime, we continue to write grants & give presentations to generate funding for the project.  $upport for the interior restoration of the Underwood Pullman would be most appreciated.

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