Marcia car turns 100

Chamber plans ceremony to honor landmark

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The fixed gaze of American business legend and county namesake David H. Moffat greets visitors to one of Craig's most historic landmarks, the Marcia Car.

Moffat's glare comes from the front page of a framed edition of The Craig Empire Courier, which ran a story detailing his donation of the car to the city in July 1953.

Fifty-three years later, the city is still benefiting from the donation. The U.S. Department of the Interior lists the rail car, valued today at more than $300,000, on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The Craig Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the 100th birthday of the Marcia Car -- the personal railroad car of Moffat, a prominent Denver banker who played a vital role in the development of the railroad -- on Saturday.

The car, located at the edge of Craig City Park, will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours and performances are free. Refreshments will be provided.

"The Marcia Car has a rich history and deep symbolism in Moffat County," Chamber Director Christina Currie said. "We're lucky to have such a unique object in our community and I encourage anyone who hasn't toured the Marcia to take this opportunity to do so. It's something I guarantee they won't soon forget."

Moffat, the first president of the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railway Company, commissioned the car in 1906 for his personal use. He named the car, built for $24,568, after his daughter.

It was used primarily for inspection tours of railroad lines and to entertain prospective investors.

The Chamber now uses the car to entertain curious residents.

On Tuesday, Norma Buffham escorted three local youths through the rail car. The tour guide escorted the children from front to back, through an interior comprised almost exclusively of wood, brass and leather.

The car measures 68 feet by 12 feet and weighs 65 tons. It features two staterooms, a dining room, kitchen and servant quarters. It provided sleeping accommodations for 12 passengers, a cook and a porter.

Tours normally pick up in the summer, Buffham said.

"It starts getting busy now," she said. "It can be several a day."

Visitors can tour the rare car and hear Dave Napels' portrayal of David Moffat on Saturday.

Napels, an actor and railroad historian, will perform his 40-minute character re-enactment three times Saturday, at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Currie said visitors to this weekend's Whittle the Wood Rendezvous should take time away to visit the historic landmark.

"We hope people will join us for cake and an up-close look at this fabulous piece of American and Moffat County history," Currie said.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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