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Altoona Railway Museum Club: Loretto Railcar Restoration


The Loretto 2 Pre-fire Photographs


Loretto Home Fire Damage Photographs Restoration Project


  Central berth-lounge area at center of LORETTO, pre-fire. These two areas were central to the fire and were completely destroyed.  A few pieces of furniture survive. Intense heat particularly damaging to area in top half of room with heat rising to ceiling and down corridors. Photo by David Seidel   Photo of the central Lounge room in the LORETTO, pre-fire. This room completely destroyed by fire. Photo by David Seidel  
  Another view of central Lounge of LORETTO, pre-fire. Detail of corner. Central berth on other side of bulkhead. Area destroyed by fire. Photo by David Seidel. Note: As of March 2001, the LORETTO has been restored except this room. PARLOR_VIEW_LORETTO_PRE-FIRE.jpg (97511 bytes) Parlor view (vestibule end).  Sustained heat and smoke damage from fire.  
Photo by David Seidel
  View of Parlor corner (detail) - vestibule end. This area sustained heat and smoke damage from fire. Photo by David Seidel CENTRAL BERTH LORETTO PRE-FIRE.jpg (49444 bytes) This is view of the central berth in center of car adjacent to lounge. This berth was also central to the fire and was completely destroyed. Ornate mahogany paneling with inlaid marquetry. Rich mohair upholstery with a soft feel similar to corduroy. Windows: Inner and outer with copper screen between. Damask draperies. Double blind...outer of vinyl like material. Inner decorative cloth. Gold plated light fixtures. A duplicate berth located opposite. Photo by David Seidel  
7-1-79_CHRISTOPHER_ DENNIS_BEHE_VISIT_LORETTO.jpg (75577 bytes) Christopher and Dennis Behe visit the Loretto on 7-1-79. Central Lounge room of LORETTO. Photo by David Seidel 7-1-79_BEHE_FAMILY_VISITS_LORETTO.jpg (59089 bytes) BEHE Family Photo in the Loretto attached. Date July 1, 1979. Notice the doily head protector on couch. This was a lace doily specially made for the Loretto with the Loretto name embroidered in the center. This occasion was an Open House viewing of the Loretto when it was at Lumax Industries siding in Altoona. Table was set with crystal and fine china for the event. Opening of Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum was one year and 3 months distant. Photo by David Seidel  
CTR-GUEST-BERTH-MARB-BATH.jpg (39686 bytes) Detail of center car guest berth adjacent to marble walled bath, pre-fire.  Photo by David Seidel Exterior of Loretto II on public display, 1979. Location is at Lumax Industries industrial siding on Chestnut avenue, Altoona, Pa., east of present day location of Union Tank Car Co., where the exterior was subsequently re-painted by Union Tank Car Co (then known as Lithcote, a division of UT). One year after this photo was taken, car was placed on the grounds of newly constructed Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum. Four years after this photo was taken, Loretto II would be substantially damaged by fire on the museum grounds, caused by teenage runaways who entered the car at night, using candles.  Photo by David Seidel  
EXT-LOR-7-75-MAGEE-TRANSP-M.jpg (45042 bytes) Exterior view of LORETTO II at the Magee Transportation Museum, Bloomsburg, PA, July 1975, 3 months prior to move to Altoona. Exterior view of Loretto II October, 1975 at the Lumax Industries siding in Altoona after arrival from Bloomsburg, PA. Acquisition of the Loretto railroad car of industrialist Charles M. Schwab added considerable impetus to the effort to establish Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum, incorporated in 1972 but not yet constructed. September 21, 1980 would be the Grand Opening of Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum with the LORETTO (II) on display there, until damage by fire October 1983.  
  Pre-fire photo of central lounge area of Loretto. Dining table was set with china and PRR silver for an open house event, 1979. Photo by David Seidel   View of dining table and center lounge room of Loretto during open house tour 1979. Table is appointed with fine china, crystal, and PRR silver service. Photo by David Seidel  
LOR-UNION-TANK-ALTOONA.jpg (44659 bytes) September 1980: LORETTO II, with newly painted exterior, sits on the transfer table of Lithcote Co., a division of Union Tank Car Co., at Altoona, PA. Lithcote Co. donated the refurbishment prior to the Grand Opening of Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum, 9-21-80. This transfer table and facilities of Union Tank Car Co. were the former PRR passenger car paint shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad Co.  Photo by David Seidel. STEEL-TITAN--COVER.jpg (14698 bytes)



Recommended reading:  "The Steel Titan", The Life of Charles M. Schwab by Robert Hessen, softcover, published by University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15260. Originally published in hardback by Oxford University Press, New York.  
PAUL_WESTBROOK_ON_LORETTO.jpg (35559 bytes) Photo of Paul W. Westbrook (deceased) aboard the private rail car of industrialist Charles M. Schwab, circa 1979. Mr. Westbrook was past
President of Horseshoe Curve Chapter, National Railway Historical Society and a member of the Board of Directors, Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum.  Photo by David Seidel


Charles M. Schwab also owned another LORETTO railroad car pre-dating Loretto II. The first car differs in minor appointments but is essentially identical except for an open platform observation deck. Fortunately, Loretto I also survives and is in the North Carolina Transportation Museum at Spencer, former site of the Southern Railroad Spencer Shops. Loretto I is in pristine condition.    






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Photographs are by Chris Behe unless otherwise noted.