Saturday was our scheduled day of volunteering for the Give-a-Day, Get-a-Disney-Day program. Kayden had picked our assignment: the Colorado Railroad Museum, because the idea of possibly painting train cars brought back great Thomas the Tank Engine memories.
Bright and way-too-early, we woke up, got dressed in many layers to anticipate the cold day, and grabbed a Starbucks sort of breakfast. We weren't sure what our assignment would be as we checked in with our team leader, a gentleman named Jim. Scattered here and there, we saw volunteers sweeping up train scraps, scraping paint (hope that's lead-free!), clearing the unused tracks.
With Keene carrying a box of cleaning supplies (never a good sign), Jim led us to Railroad Car 96.
We climbed aboard as Jim explained that this particular car was built in 1895 and used solely by Charles Elliott Perkins (the president of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad from 1881 to 1901) as he traveled the country, entertaining business acquaintances. Jim further explained that visitors are typically not allowed onto this rail car, because of the historical value of the objects within--and of the car itself.
All of the original carpets, furniture, light fixtures, bedding, and even china were still in the rail car. And our job was to clean it. Holy heavy sense of responsibility, Batman!
The rail car was considered to be the pinnacle of railway luxury at the time. The kitchen appliances were stainless steel, the beds had fire protective covers over them, and there was even an additional toilet in one bedroom.
We started our shift in the back of the train car, cleaning the main sitting room.
Even though he's a kid, Kayden didn't get to skate by on this job. He certainly worked for his D-Land ticket. He cleaned all the windows, ledges, furniture legs, tables, and metal heating grates.
There were some really interesting things in this room: a gorgeous lamp molded to look like it was sitting on a brass lily pad; buttons next to every chair with which to get the attendant's attention; small, built-in wooden cubbies on the walls which I thought were ashtrays and which Kayden thought held french fries; large overhead compartments which folded down into cots; and, stained glass windows near the ceiling.
Fast forward 2.5 hours later, and we moved to the next room. Keene cleaned the master bedroom (which consisted of him standing on a ladder, holding a vacuum with his foot)...
While Kayden and I moved onto the bathroom. Let me tell you: if you have to clean toilets, working on a toilet which is over 100 years old (and unused for the last 50 years) is pretty desirable. It was super, super dirty, but oh-so-so cool. Yes, I said it: cleaning a toilet was really cool.
The whole bathroom was neat. It was incredibly innovative for its time (at the time, not many people even had indoor bathrooms, let alone on a train). But this one had a toilet, sink, shower, and even a window. The shower had a curtain and a knob marked "Shampoo." Interesting...
And this funky thing, which may have been a toilet paper holder? I don't know. Any history buffs out there, please elaborate.
The faucet must have been an ugrade after the train had already been in use for many years, because the manufactured year was 1915.