Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western first class coach #63
Fund Drive and Restoration
Text by Don Ginter and Ray Buhrmaster
All Content ©2000, Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society, Inc.
Reproduction, copying, or redistribution without permission is prohibited.

If you have ever visited or seen views from the California State Railroad Museum, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, or the B&O Railroad Museum, you probably marveled at their restored coaches and locomotives. The only difference between what they have done and what Mid-Continent can do is governed by time and money. We now have an opportunity to duplicate their restoration work.

In the past, our coach restorations have normally taken up to ten years to complete. When volunteers can only work one weekend a month, restorations take years to complete. Also, our restoration plan for a particular piece of equipment is often guided by the amount of money available from the museum's budget. These two items (time and money) may not always allow a restoration to the most historic era. This could now change with our next coach restoration.

The Jeffris Family Foundation has awarded Mid-Continent a challenge grant for the restoration of its 1888-built MLS&W #63 coach (seen in the photo above about 1910 when it was owned by and lettered for the Chicago & North Western Railway). The total budget for the restoration/reconstruction of the coach is $350,000; the Jeffris Family Foundation challenge grant is for $175,000. We will provide the matching $175,000, which was successfully raised by the end of August 2000.

This budget will allow restoration of the MLS&W #63 to its 1888-1893 configuration as an MLS&W coach with Miller hook couplers, Spear heaters, and interior artistry by E. Colonna. Certainly, this is a task that the normal museum budget could not afford. Second, with this budget, the work will be done by hired professional people experienced in the railroad restoration field and other fields of restoration work. The restoration will be completed in two years. It could be done sooner, except our shop is not equipped with heat for winter work.

Major donors and gifts from our membership have raised the $175,000 in matching funds needed. Further donations will be accepted to help with contigencies. Read on to learn a little bit of the history of our "Lake Shore" #63, and continue visiting Mid-Continent's website for future updates on the restoration, slated to begin in November 2000.