Preservation Project

The Museum is currently engaged in developing a preservation strategy for NAHCOTTA.   Noting the importance of the NAHCOTTA, rail car preservationist Glenn Guerra comments:

“To the railroad history community, this car is extremely valuable. … This car is one of the oldest surviving examples from that works. … few written records were made. … This type of information needs to be retrieved from the cars themselves. … It is only recently that organizations are viewing these cars as a source of the information from the past. … There is a wealth of information still in this car.”

Mr. Guerra also found a piece of physical evidence: the Pullman factory order number “1607”, on the edge of the NAHCOTTA’s wooden shutters, physical proof directing the search for its history to the archives of institutions that hold Pullman’s Palace Co records.

The NAHCOTTA is also important to American railroad history as it is one of a few remaining 1880s Pullman wooden narrow gauge coaches that contains a significant about of original material, and that has not been modified to be operational. In 2010, the NAHCOTTA was listed on the Washington Heritage Register of Historic Places.

The preservation project will require planning, funding and professional technical supervision in order to preserve as much of the original material as possible which contains that crucial historical information.

You can see the NAHCOTTA which is located in the Museum’s Courtyard. It is open for visitors twice a year during “Clamshell Railroad Days”, the third weekend in July, and “Cranberrian Fair”, the second weekend in October.

As part of the mission of the Ilwaco Heritage Foundation, which is to collect, preserve, research, exhibit and interpret the heritage of the region where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean (with emphasis on the southern part of Pacific County, WA), the IHF undertakes the preservation of the 1889 Pullman passenger coach NAHCOTTA (the largest artifact in its collections) which was part of the rolling stock inventory of the Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Co. (and successor companies) that operated from 1888 to Sept 1930 from Ilwaco, WA on Baker Bay north to Nahcotta, WA on the west side of Willapa Bay, and from Ilwaco Junction east to Megler, WA on the north shore of the Columbia River. For the purpose of this preservation project, the Ilwaco Heritage Foundation (DBA the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum) seeks to:

  • Consult and work with preservation professionals
  • Document original material still present in the NAHCOTTA
  • Stabilize the NAHCOTTA as an exhibit, not as operational rolling stock
  • Conduct further research about the NAHCOTTA that might be in the collections of other institutions
  • Obtain reference material relevant to the NAHCOTTA, it’s engineering, and period in American railroad history which it represents
  • Identify, inventory and document physical evidence in or on the NAHCOTTA relevant to the variety of its functions before it came to the Museum
  • Select specific physical features that are evidence of these functions to help interpret the “story” of the NAHCOTTA, rather than have the train car restored to a specific period frozen in time
  • Select specific physical features that can be removed or remodeled which are not original fabrics or part of the interpretation of the car
  • Establish a cyclic maintenance program for the continued care and preservation of the NAHCOTTA
  • Develop interpretative material about the NAHCOTTA, the preservation process, the Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Co., it successor companies, and the influence local rail service had on the development of the industries, communities and lifeways of the historic North Beach area