McKeen Motor Car Company Historical Society

McKeen Motor Car Company Historical Society The McKeen Car Research and Discussion Page
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Operating as usual

Here is a photo of a McKeen Parade Float from 1906 they used a truck as the base, and used real components like the vent...
04/05/2020

Here is a photo of a McKeen Parade Float from 1906 they used a truck as the base, and used real components like the ventilators, pilot, headlight, and under body radiator. Few photos exist of this parade float and this one was new to my collection when it turned up. I believe somewhere I have documentation on what flowers were used but I couldn't find that info to reference for this post.

Here is the Lakeside and Marblehead before being turned into a Diner.
11/06/2019

Here is the Lakeside and Marblehead before being turned into a Diner.

Phot #1 is an advertisement that I have had. I do not know where it came from, but I have always enjoyed that the phot used is probably when the car was new.(no sheeting on the pilot). Photo #2 and #3 are when dated 1948 at Weir Bros. Scrap yard, in Sandusky. Photo #4 is Weir Bros. 1949. #5 remained on L&M property until 1947 when she was sold to Weir Bros. She sat at Weir Bros. until 1950 when she was purchased by Alvin Louys and moved to Rt. 2, in Bono and converted to a diner. 3 photos are Bob Lorenz.

The Lakeside & Marblehead Railroad
11/06/2019

The Lakeside & Marblehead Railroad

These are car #5 in her final incarnation, at Bono, Ohio. I find it interesting that Mr. Louys kept the L&M paint scheme. Car burned in 1962 and dismantled. B&W photo is Bob Lorenz. Apologies, I cannot recall the credit for the color photos.

The Lakeside & Marblehead Railroad
11/04/2019

The Lakeside & Marblehead Railroad

Photo #1 is McKeen car #5. The photo states that this Oct. 1916. This would be near the first day of operation. Photo also states that the man on the right is Mr. Gardner and the man on the left is Mr. Mutach. Photo came from George Gresh. Phot #2 was taken early in her career. She has not got the sheathing on her pilot to plow snow. Photo says that the motorman was Jay Owens and conductor was George Wiedenhoft.Photo taken in Marblehead, in front of the Hospital building. John Kozak photo. Photo #3 was taken in Marblehead, in front of the Hospital building. She has sheathing on her pilot for plowing snow. Bob Lorenz photo.
Photo #4 was taken in front of the Lakeside station. It is dated 1920. I borrowed this from Lakeside Heritage Society. Photo #5 is an interior shot of the car. I do not know who the gent is in the photo. No date. John Kozak photo. I have grouped these like this for they are the only photos, that I have, that show #5 earning her keep.

Here is a Photo of an Ann Arbor McKeen Car, unknown number, that is likely on her inaugural run wearing white flags for ...
10/05/2019

Here is a Photo of an Ann Arbor McKeen Car, unknown number, that is likely on her inaugural run wearing white flags for a special run. The 5 cars were finished at that factory in May, June, July, and August of 1911, and were sent to the Ann Arbor to complete their order of 70 foot Motor Cars, all order custom with arched windows instead of regular round windows.

This car is shown hauling what looks like a regular day coach with closed vestibules. The McKeen Car was only comfortable hauling up to 15 tons as that is the weight of a McKeen Trailer Car. Mr. McKeen did not suggest anything this heavy could be hauled by the Motor Car so I'm curious how their excursion went.

An interesting photo none the less.

Thanks to David Lewis, the mystery diner has been solved.  It was located at 8126 SE McLoughlin Boulevard in South Portl...
09/01/2019

Thanks to David Lewis, the mystery diner has been solved. It was located at 8126 SE McLoughlin Boulevard in South Portland, Oregon. I could not find any aerial photos or other photos of the cars, nor any history on what happened to the cars.

I have another Mystery!  We solved the last one with the Southern Pacific McKeen Car on ship, but this time the mystery ...
08/24/2019

I have another Mystery! We solved the last one with the Southern Pacific McKeen Car on ship, but this time the mystery is on land. Here is a photo that was admitted to the Western Railway Museum with no information and was improperly titled "V&T McKeen #22 in Carson City." This is a totally different diner, and I don't have any information on it either.

From what I deduce from the photo, this diner was actually built from two rear ends of two McKeen Cars. Being there is a coupler plate on the back of the car on the right, these cars were built after builder's number 054. Being post 054, there was always 1 restroom on each side of the vestibule, and those windows are not visible. I believe these were both 70' McKeen Cars chopped right behind the restroom windows to have only the large round windows left for the Diner. If you assume these cars both came from the same railroad, there were quite a few railroads these could be from, so to simplify, these cars are most likely in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Nebraska, Arizona, Texas, Wyoming, Kansas, or Oklahoma. I know that isn't very helpful, but there is no other detail I can see that helps me deduce which railroad or which cars they are.

On to other notes in the photo. The Automotive (?) building on the left sells Butane between 1930-1950, which is interesting. Address on the Diner is 8126, which seems a bit high for a small town, though I may be wrong. It was named the Streamlined Cafe {&} Fountain. There is an interesting travel trailer visible on the left. There are clouds in the sky that may suggest it is more likely Oregon or Washington.

Can anyone help figure out this Mystery?

Wow, this is a McKeen Car that ran on the Los Angeles, San Diego & Beach Railway.
08/13/2019

Wow, this is a McKeen Car that ran on the Los Angeles, San Diego & Beach Railway.

Our Carol Olten pondered fashion styles and trends in a recent Timekeeper.
While white waists (blouses with ballooning mutton sleeves) and dark ankle-length skirts remained the outfits du jour among La Jolla pioneer women of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, departures into higher styles of frills and finery were not unknown. Eliza Virginia Scripps became legendary for her extensive and extreme wardrobe of bohemian attire, often complete with ethnic baubles and beads and almost always in HER color, purple. Photographs of Florence Sawyer, Rose Hartwick Thorpe, Florence Kellogg, Eleanor Parkes and others reveal attire bordering on the realm of costume. In the 1920s it was said the Miniature Opera was founded in La Jolla in part as an excuse for going out and dressing up. Setting the tone for style were Isabelle Hopkins, a gay and wealthy divorcee from Colorado Springs who founded the Casa de Manana as a fancy resort hotel where she entertained in fabulous ball gowns, and Sibyl Darlington, a New York socialite who retired to La Jolla in the 1920s to party and ride horses. While many fashionable La Jolla women relied on seamstresses to sew their clothing, San Diego’s downtown Marston’s store could always be counted on for the latest haute monde from Paris, San Francisco and New York.
Owner George Marston boasted that a wife and four daughters gave him all the experience he needed in womens’ wear, that he could wrap a hoop skirt and slap it down on the counter with only a quick turn of the wrist, turning a vast balloon of wires “into a neat little wheel just two inches thick.” Hoop skirts wrapped for travel or worn, there seems little doubt but that La Jolla’s pioneer women danced into the mornings and slipped into the nights off and on dressed to the nines, their hats piquantly perched on updos and their boots buttoned and polished. Perhaps, they thought, too, as Colette had written, “I, too, am Sheherazade.” – Carol Olten

Here's a photo I acquired of Union Pacific M-23 believed to be in Callaway, Nebraska.  M-23 was built in May of 1915, we...
06/22/2019

Here's a photo I acquired of Union Pacific M-23 believed to be in Callaway, Nebraska. M-23 was built in May of 1915, weighed 37 tons, and was the first all baggage McKeen Car. The car was builder's number 146 out of 152, and purchased by UP for $22703.12 in 1915. This was the first McKeen Car with a McKeen built 300HP engine. I believe through what research I've done that there was a carburetor on each cylinder (the engine was a straight 6) to help reduce resistance on the intake side the engine. A single carburetor supplying fuel to 150 liters of engine is a big task. This however would nearly prevent you from ever tuning in the engine as you would have to pick out, by ear, which cylinder was not firing right and how to fix that carburetor.

This photo was taken before 1934 when it was painted in the Famous Union Pacific Yellow and Brown paint scheme of the streamliners. This was after the pilot was replaced with flat sheet metal, possibly an attempt at further streamlining this car?

The trailer car behind M-23 is T-18, one of two early McKeen Cars to be rebuilt into an unpowered trailer. T-18 was originally UP #7, the first round window McKeen built in March of 1906.

At this time, both cars would be in Pullman Green.

Note: To everyone reading this, I did not initially make it clear, this car still exists, and it is our goal to restore ...
06/08/2019

Note: To everyone reading this, I did not initially make it clear, this car still exists, and it is our goal to restore this car to operating condition, the car is in our possession and we are working now to secure a workshop to restore the car. The Cuyamaca is the third oldest all steel railcar in the US, as well as the oldest existing aerodynamic vehicle (I would love to know if I'm wrong, but the next oldest is 1910, another McKeen Car, and then the first Indi 500 Winner, the Marmon Wasp of 1911.)

Very rarely does a photo of the Cuyamaca turn up that I've not seen before. This is the 1909 San Diego Merchant Association's trip and I have seen one photo previously of this trip, but when this rare second photo turned up, I had to have it.

This is the only Starboard side photo of the Cuyamaca taken in San Diego. This is also a nicely detailed photo that shows such details as a Patent Plate on the rear of the car, it also shows three single chime whistles plumbed to the air line (which I do not believe is factory) as well as gold leaf on the pilot, the name "Cuyamaca" itself, and a number of other small details.

Can anyone help locate the photo by the houses in the background?

Peter
04/23/2019

Peter

#5 at work, not just posing. From Lakeside Heritage site.

The "Mary" of the Silver Peak Railroad
04/09/2019

The "Mary" of the Silver Peak Railroad

Baseball season is back and tonight is the home opener for the Reno Aces Baseball! To celebrate here is a photo from 1912 of a baseball team from Blair, Nevada, taking an excursion to Tonopah on the Silver Peak Railroad's McKeen Motor Car to play a game. I think we can all agree that it would be great to arrive at the ballpark on a McKeen Motor Car.

The V&T #22 was moved into the Museum's Main Center.  This is the first time it has to my knowledge.
03/14/2019

The V&T #22 was moved into the Museum's Main Center. This is the first time it has to my knowledge.

Here was a pricey postcard that was hard to pass up.  Ann Arbor #1 was built in May of 1911, builders number 109.  It we...
02/09/2019

Here was a pricey postcard that was hard to pass up. Ann Arbor #1 was built in May of 1911, builders number 109. It weighed roughly 35 tons, it was 70' long, and could haul 83 passengers. It was custom ordered and built with arched windows long after round windows became the standard. Few other roads requested arched windows, one being the Chicago Great Western having bought three with arched windows, and in 1928 turned all three into a streamed train, 6 years before UP's M-10000.

This car was converted to Kerosene in 1915, the engine would start on gas and once warm was switched over to kerosene. A.A.R.R. #1 and her sisters #2,#3, #4, and #5 were out of service by 1931. This photo was taken in Ossowo, Michigan.

M-23 was built in May of 1915 for the Union Pacific. It was builder's number 146 of 152, putting it near the end of the ...
02/02/2019

M-23 was built in May of 1915 for the Union Pacific. It was builder's number 146 of 152, putting it near the end of the company. It was a odd ball to say the least, The drop center door....was not a door at all. The car was not a doodlebug if one is defined as carrying passengers. This photo was taken in Callaway, Nebraska, on November 15th, 1945.

The car itself was built with an experimental McKeen 300HP engine, and by my best research, was possibly a 12" bore 15" stroke, which equates to 8143 Cubic Inches, or in other words a 133 Liter Engine. If you take assumed 300HP at 350 RPM, that defines the torque at 4500 Ft/Lbs. Torque is highly desired when it comes to moving railcars that way many many tons.

However, at the time this photo was taken, the car had be modified by EMC and rebuilt with a 300HP Diesel Winton Engine and Motor Truck built by St. Louis Car Company. Interestingly enough, this motor car usually hauled Coach #499, however in this photo it's hauling Trailer Car T-18 which was rebuilt from U.P.R.R. #7, the first round window McKeen Car, Builders Number 007.

Here is a neat photo of Southern Pacific #41 in Sacramento on April 11th, 1935.  I had a second thought that this wasn't...
01/19/2019

Here is a neat photo of Southern Pacific #41 in Sacramento on April 11th, 1935. I had a second thought that this wasn't a scrapline, but the doors have been left open and the car is stuck between other passenger cars. This tells me they didn't care any more and soon this car would be send to the scrapline.

Southern Pacific 41 was built in November of 1909, the car was originally built for the Oregon and California as builders number 062, and was a 55' model with a fairly large baggage section. The Car was "Laid Aside" in 8-10-1936, but this photo suggests they stopped using the car sooner than that. The car was considered scrapped on the SP roster on December 16th, 1936.

Here's a scrapline photo of Southern Pacific #39 in Sacramento.  It's motor truck was removed and replaced with a shop t...
01/12/2019

Here's a scrapline photo of Southern Pacific #39 in Sacramento. It's motor truck was removed and replaced with a shop truck that appears to be old, possibly built in the 1870's or 80's.

This car was built in April of 1910, Builder's Number 072. The Car weighed 35 Tons new and could haul 62 passengers. This photo was taken on December 28th, 1935, though documents say the car was "Laid Aside" in August of 1936 and scrapped on December 16th, of the same year. Maybe that's when the roster was updated?

Peter James asked if I had information on the operating instructions for the McKeen Cars, and if I had photos of the cab...
01/05/2019

Peter James asked if I had information on the operating instructions for the McKeen Cars, and if I had photos of the cab controls. I haven't yet scanned the McKeen Manual that I have, but I do have interesting blueprints and schematics that show how to construct the cars, and I'll post photos of the cabs of McKeen Cars. Open each photo individually and each will have a description.

Here is a nice photo I acquired of the Woodstock and Sycamore Traction Company McKeen Car #711.  The railroad owned thre...
12/19/2018

Here is a nice photo I acquired of the Woodstock and Sycamore Traction Company McKeen Car #711. The railroad owned three cars, #707, #709, and #711, the first car having a short baggage section, while the next two were solely passenger motor cars.

This Car, builder's number 108 was built in July of 1911, and arrived shortly before this photo was taken. This exact postcard was sent from Genoa to Elgin, Ill, on Feb 8th, 1912, at 4pm, so this photo was taken within a year of the arrival of the car, however, the railroad only had the car for 3 years.

The car was later repossessed by William McKeen in 1914 for failure to make payments on the three cars they were paying off. The #707 was rebuilt with an oddly located baggage door and sold to the Lakeside and Marblehead Railroad to become their #5, which I posted an interior and exterior photo of recently.

The #709 and #711 were rebuilt, refurbished and sent to the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway in Alberta, Canada. The cars serviced a bit more life in Canada, the cars ran up in the 1920s with minimal success. A story I forget the source of told of the two cars sitting around the shops about 1930 or so, derelict, and a party of some kind wanted to ride the train as a get-a-way. Well one car was fixed up with the parts from the other sitting there, a ran for about 10 miles and the engine failed, had to be towed back, and that was the last time for sure they would ever run under their own power.

Here's a postcard I acquired, it shows the Buffalo Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway McKeen Car #1001, unofficially named...
12/15/2018

Here's a postcard I acquired, it shows the Buffalo Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway McKeen Car #1001, unofficially named the "Rocket." It was built in May of 1910, and was builder's number 090. It weighed 37.5 Tons, and could haul 84 passengers. It was sold to the Deer River Railroad in 1917 and then sold to the Narragansett Pier in 1921 and became #8. It was scrapped about 1930.

If anyone has any more information on the Deer River Railroad, I would greatly appreciate it. I found out they were only around for one year, incorporated in August of 1917, and took over the Carthage and Copenhagen Railroad.

Recently acquired for the collection, these two photos of the Lakeside and Marblehead #5 McKeen Motor Car are quite nice...
12/13/2018

Recently acquired for the collection, these two photos of the Lakeside and Marblehead #5 McKeen Motor Car are quite nice photos. The prints themselves are only about 4 inches wide but they are sharp images. The interior view is the beautifully rare view, and shows details like the builder's artwork above the doorway, as well as the electric lamps, trim work, and the mirrors. The "Cuyamaca" motor car was not constructed with walls as shown, but the Virginia and Truckee McKeen Car #22 looked very much like this.

As a partial news update, the McKeen Car Cuyamaca will hopefully be moved this January or February to a new location where the car can be worked on by volunteers and where we won't annoy residents. We will be laying asphalt and making both a metal and wood workshop to be able to work on the Railcar. Stay Tuned for more information.

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Grand Island Ne to St Joe our Mckeen colored up from an old black and white photo
Saw this posted on the Ann Arbor RR history page, looks to be a McKeen car, how is your project coming along so far?
McKeen car on film. It's short - just a tantalizing clip from a longer film, this shows a McKeen car of the Union Pacific RR in actual service during the 1930s. The complete film is simply titled 'GM 1938 Diesel locomotive Promo Film' and can be found here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcRLugrGjBw The McKeen car appears around 1min 15sec in. Enjoy!
McKeen car ERRONEOUSLY DESCRIBED as running on SP Alexandria, LA Branch out of Lafayette, LA in 1930: I did not know MeKeen cars operated in Louisiana.
Here's a photo of the McKeen #22 in Carson City I took in Nov '19 during a photo shoot we held at the NSRM. It's a fun car to operate too!
Does anyone have information about what happened to #9?
Virginia and Truckee #22
Whose motor car is this?