Private Car No. 99, ClaraIn 1906, Frank Sullivan Smith, President and Receiver of the Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad decided that the railroad needed a business car, one that he could take investors, prospective shippers and others on tours of the Railroad. Since the railroad was already in receivership, he knew that he could not get court approval for the railroad, itself, to purchase such a car.
Smith contacted James T. Gardner, a Chicago used-equipment dealer to enquire as to what was available. The Chicago and Alton Railroad had two cars they were considering getting rid of as they had purchased a new car built in 1900. On the C&A, car No. 501 was a pay car and No. 502 was a business car.
Car No. 502 was constructed by the Pullman Company on December 19, 1883 as part of lot No. 188 and following Pullman plan No. 196. So for $4,500 of his own money, Smith purchased car No. 502 and renumbered it into the PS&N passenger car series as No. 99.
At his expense, Smith had the car refurbished and equipped. It was repainted and the mahogany interior was re-oiled also gas lighting was added. He then gave the Clara to his wife as a birthday present. Smith's wife was Clara Higgins Smith, sister to Frank W. Higgins, who has served as Governor of the State of New York.
Private car No. 99, the Clara today, under the museum's new protective roof at the Allegany County Fair Grounds.
Private car No. 99, the Clara as originally restored.
The Clara. Frank Sullivan Smith's private car.
The Clara having seen better days, shown here at a Y.M.C.A. camp in Belvidere, NY.
Interior views of the resored Clara.