Museum gets $180,000 grant for chapel car

Northwest Railway Museum's chapel car "Messenger of Peace" has been awarded a prestigious Save America’s Treasures grant.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, in collaboration with the President’s council on Arts and Heritage, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Park Service, announced selection of the chapel car project from a pool of 402 eligible applications.

The chapel car will receive $180,000 that will match funding awarded from the Washington State Historical Society’s Capital Projects for Washington’s Heritage program ($125,000), 4Culture’s Landmark Rehabilitation and Landmark Challenge grant programs ($37,000), a 4Culture collection Care grant ($4,000) and a variety of private contributions.

The car, also known as Chapel Car 5, was built in 1898 for the American Baptist Publication Society. For 50 years, it traveled through Washington and ten other states, bringing modern evangelism to the frontier. For two years, it promoted the Railroad YMCA, and in its later years was used to conduct revivals.

In 1917, Car 5 traveled through Snoqualmie to conduct services in North Bend and later traveled to Issaquah to serve that community at the onset of America’s involvement in WW1. The car served dozens of communities in Western Washington and King County. After retirement, the car was adapted for use as a road side diner near Snohomish, and later as a cottage at Grayland, Wash. The artifact was donated to the museum and moved to Snoqualmie in 2007.

Messenger of Peace is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Washington Heritage Register, and the King County and city of Snoqualmie landmarks Register. It is recognized as the only nationally-significant object in the museum’s collection and this status helped secure the Save America’s Treasures grant.

The grant will allow substantial completion of the Chapel Car rehabilitation. The project will take between 18 and 24 months to complete.

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