See “The Dolores” parlor car, which brought passengers from Washington, D.C. to Chesapeake Beach; the only remaining rolling stock left from the Chesapeake Beach Railway. Bernie Loveless and Mildred Finlon were two tireless and beloved leaders of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum. We have created the Loveless and Finlon Education Center in the interior space of the museum to honor their spirit and strength of character that made the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum possible.
According to a 1942 article by Hugh G. Boutell in The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, western influences were reflected in
the naming of Chesapeake Beach Railway’s equipment. Several of the cars have names of places that Otto Mears was associated with in Colorado. The Rio Grande Southern Railway was founded in 1889 by Otto Mears, and ran from Ridgway (north of Ouray) and Durango (south of Silverton) to go around the most rugged part of the San Juan Mountains and also reach the mining towns of Rico and Telluride. One stop on the line was the town of Dolores, Colorado. The Dolores River was nearby. Perhaps this is how she got her name.
The Railway Car
The Dolores was one of 32 passenger cars ordered in 1898 from the St. Charles Car Company of St. Charles, Missouri. She was a parlor car containing 36 plush and 36 wicker seats. A parlor car is a type of passenger coach that provides superior comforts and amenities when compared to a standard coach. Dolores offered individual, reserved seats. Of wooden construction, the Dolores was equipped with baggage racks, toilets, kerosene lighting, and steam heat. The exterior was painted Tuscan red with black trim and Chesapeake Beach in gold leaf lettering.
The Dolores was the only parlor car not scrapped and burned when Chesapeake Beach Railway went out of business in 1935. Otto Mears’ presidential car, San Juan, which was originally very fancy and could sleep ten people, remained intact as it languished at Maryland Park railway yard. In the early 1940s, the Dolores was parked inside the paint shed of the Maryland Park railway yard. Ames Williams states in his book, Otto Mears Goes East: The Chesapeake Beach Railway, that the Dolores was converted into living quarters for employees at Maryland Park. In 1959, the Dolores was cut in half and part became storage space.
Special Thank Yous!
Contributions were made toward the restoration of the the Dolores from: The Calvert County Cultural Arts Council, Bernie Loveless and Helen Estep, the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, the Maryland Department of Planning through the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, the Southern Maryland Heritage Area and many Friends of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum.