Marjorie Merriweather Post and E.F. Hutton – Circa 1922
The Chapel Hill was originally built in 1922 for Post Cereals Heiress, Marjorie Merriweather Post, and stock broker and investment banker E.F. Hutton, at the St. Charles, Missouri plant of American Car & Foundry in Lot 9336 to Plan 2081.
Originally christened Hussar, the car was used for company business and personal travel between their principal residence in New York City; their Hispanic-Moresque winter estate, "Mar-a-lago", in Palm Beach; and Camp Topridge, the couple’s summer retreat in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. It was also used extensively for entertainment, as Post was known as a lavish hostess.
The Huttons divorced in 1935 and the Hussar became a part of Post’s settlement. She later remarried Joseph E. Davies, a Washington, D.C. attorney and ambassador to the Soviet Union and Belgium. After the Davies left for the Soviet Union in 1937, the Hussar was sold to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway – Office Car 3 Shortly after the car was acquired, a Pullman air-conditioning system, complete with roof ducting, was installed. The Hussar was renamed simply Office Car 2. It was renumbered several times before finally settling on Office Car 3.
In 1957, the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) modernized the entire window line. Other exterior changes through the years included roller bearings added to the trucks, a rebuilt open-platform and the service door relocated to the opposite side of the car, across from the kitchen and pantry.
DeWitt Chapple, Jr. – Chapel Hill
DeWitt Chapple, Jr. purchased Office Car 3 from C&O in 1971. Chapple retained the car’s number, but added the name Chapel Hill after his alma mater, the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill.
Chapple’s interest in private cars stems from early school years. He was a guest of Frank Pidcock III on the Georgia Northern’s business car Moultrie, which later became the Gold Coast, the first private car owned by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg. It is now an honored show piece at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
In 1972, Chapple made his first private car trip aboard the now renamed Chapel Hill to Philadelphia on the rear of the National Limited. Since then he has accumulated over 250,000 miles aboard the Chapel Hill both in the United States and Canada.
The Chapel Hill has the further distinction of being one of three private cars in attendance at the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners (AAPRCO) first private car convention in Chicago in 1978. DeWitt Chapple was also a founding member of AAPRCO and has served as its president for the maximum allowable term in 2004 and 2005. DeWitt has attended all 28 annual AAPRCO conventions since its inception, and the Chapel Hill has attended 25 of 28 AAPRCO conventions.
The Chapel Hill Today
Rich in history, the Chapel Hill continues its travels throughout the United States today, logging thousands of miles annually.
In 2009, Jeff and Tracy McClorey sold their share of Chapel Hill, to John and Anne Atherton, and Lee and Lisa Nordloh in order to concentrate on Bromwell’s. The Athertons and Nordlohs are proud to be associated with both DeWitt and the Chapel Hill, and look forward to maintaining its status as one of the finest private cars in the fleet.
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