CVSR Restoring Mural Aboard the St. Lucie Sound Car
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) is working with ICA Art Conservation on a new project to restore a mural on the Saint Lucie Sound car.
The Saint Lucie Sound is a luxury, sleek tavern lounge observation car, acquired by CVSR from the Haslinger family in 1995. It was built in 1946 by the Budd Company for the Florida East Coast Railroad. Throughout its many years of service, the Saint Lucie went through several changes, altering the original character of the interior.
In 1982 R. Gordon Chaplin, who worked for Canadian General Tower Limited in Cambridge, Ontario, purchased the Saint Lucie Sound. The car was refurbished during this time. In this redesign, carpeting was glued over the front of the bar area.
CVSR’s Restoration of the St. Lucie
In 2014, CVSR began an extensive restoration and repair project on the St. Lucie. When renovating the bar area, the team discovered a hidden gem. Beneath the carpeted bar, they uncovered a beautiful linoleum mural — a vibrant piece of artwork depicting Native Americans, which contains symbolism.
Though the artist is unknown, the team found that the mural was original to the car when it was first built in 1946. The majority of the mural remains; however, layers of glue damaged the piece.
CVSR volunteer Carol Schroeder connected with Andrea Chevalier, senior paintings conservator of Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA) in 2016 to evaluate the piece. ICA is the nation’s first non-profit regional art conservation center.
After researching and planning, Chevalier assisted CVSR volunteers in restoring the mural. In January 2017, Chevalier began training sessions to show CVSR volunteers how to use tools to safely remove layers of glue from the artwork.
Both Schroeder and Chevalier estimate the project will take hundreds of hours to complete.
“It is a labor-intensive project,” said Schroeder. “Each [volunteer] can only work a couple of hours. At the moment we can only work four days during the week and on Sundays.”
When CVSR moves to the regular schedule in June, the volunteers will only have a couple of days during the week to work on the project.
Since January 26, 2017, CVSR volunteers have already spent more than 80 hours removing glue!