The Dolores Parlor Car/Loveless & Finlon Education Center

Dolores Passenger Car, c.1909

The Dolores Parlor Car

The Dolores parlor car was one of 32 passenger cars that Otto Mears ordered in 1898 from the St. Charles Car Company of St. Charles, Missouri. A parlor car provides superior comforts and amenities when compared to a standard coach car. The car was wooden construction, equipped with baggage racks, toilet, kerosene lighting, and steam heat. It contained 36 plush and 36 wicker seats. The outside was painted Tuscany red with black trim with Chesapeake Beach in gold leaf lettering.

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 had names of places that Otto Mears was associated with in Colorado. The Rio Grande Southern Railway was founded in 1889 by Otto Mears to serve mining towns. One stop on the line was the town of Dolores, Colorado with the Dolores River nearby.  It seems likely this is the inspiration for the name.

Its Survival

Dolores is the only known remaining rolling stock of the Chesapeake Beach Railway. When scrapped in 1935, the interior was stripped of its original fittings. In the early 1940s, Dolores was parked inside the paint shed of the Maryland Park railway yard and later converted into living quarters for employees at Maryland Park. In 1959, the Dolores was cut in half and part became storage space. The fate of second half is unknown. Finally in April 1979, a dilapidated Dolores was brought home to the original Chesapeake Beach depot. Volunteers immediately began work on stabilization and repairs, which continues to the present day.

The Loveless and Finlon Education Center

From its inception, among the most beloved and enthusiastic supporters of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum were Bernie and Dorothy Loveless and Mildred Finlon. To honor their vital contributions, the Friends of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum dedicated the Dolores as the Loveless and Finlon Education Center in 2017. Development of the Center is a work in progress, but events and programs inside the remaining railway car bring to life the unique history of the Chesapeake Beach Railway.


Contributions toward the restoration of the Dolores were made by: The Calvert County Cultural Arts Council, Bernie Loveless and Helen Estep, the Maryland Heritage Area Authority of the Maryland Department of Planning, the Southern Maryland Heritage Area, and the Friends of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum.


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