The “Marcia” railroad car served as the private car of David H. Moffat (1839–1911), a prominent banker and builder of railroads in Colorado in the late nineteenth century. The luxurious car represents Moffat’s interest in railroads and his effort to tie Colorado to the national rail network. “Marcia” now stands permanently in the city of Craig in Moffat County, which was named for Moffat and was connected to Denver by one of his many railroads.
Moffat was born in Washingtonville, New York. He gained experience in banking at a young age then came to Colorado in 1860. With C. C. Woolworth, he started a book and stationery business in Denver, and in 1867 he joined the First National Bank, where he eventually rose to president. Throughout the late nineteenth century, however, he was known primarily for his work organizing and building railroads to connect Denver to the rest of the country.
Over the years Moffat played an instrumental role in the Denver Pacific Railway, which connected Denver to the Union Pacific Railroad at Cheyenne, Wyoming; the Denver and New Orleans Railroad, which connected Denver to the Gulf of Mexico; and the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad, which forged a quicker connection between Denver and the mining district at Leadville. He also served as the first president of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. In 1902 he founded the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railroad, known as the “Moffat Line,” and he spent his final years working to build the railroad west from Denver to Salt Lake City.
In 1906 Moffat bought a private car from the Pullman Company, known for its luxurious sleepers. Richly appointed with leather upholstery and African mahogany, the car cost $24,568. It could sleep twelve people and featured a specially designed dinner table that could seat twelve. Moffat named the car “Marcia” after his daughter. He used it to inspect his railroad line and to interest potential investors.
Moffat did not live to see the completion of a railroad from Denver to Salt Lake City. He died in 1911, two years before the railroad reached Craig. Forty years later, Wilson H. McCarthy, president of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, gave the “Marcia” car to Craig in recognition of Moffat’s efforts to connect northwestern Colorado to Denver by rail. The car was officially presented to the city on August 1, 1953, in a ceremony that drew more than 800 people from the community.
The car served as Craig’s Chamber of Commerce until 1981, when the chamber outgrew the car’s limited space. The chamber continues to own the car, which sits on a short stretch of rails in downtown Craig, and conducts regular tours of the car for visitors.