ELLSMERE, our historic and beautiful 1899 Wagner Palace Car was moved from the display pavilion to the shop to begin removing the exterior siding. Built for Dr. William S. Webb, son-in-law to William Vanderbilt in the Wagner shops located in Buffalo, NY. Ellsmere is one of the few surviving Wagner Palace Cars, and is unique because this car made numerous trips to the west coast from the New York area where Dr. Web and his in-laws owned and operated several well known businesses, including the New York Central Railroad.
Much of the siding is dry-rotted, a fungus that attacks the wood and destroys it. The first layer of the siding is in extremely poor condition and will have to be replaced. The second layer, made of plywood has sections that need replacement.
An inspection of the wood framing of the car reveals that we caught the dry-rot early enough to prevent extensive damage.
Additional work will be accomplished on Ellsmere while she is in the shop. Work on wiring, cleaning and removing additional old varnish in the observation compartment, and working on the mechanics of the upper births will be done in the next few months.