Smaller communities along rail routes often lacked various ammenities like medical specialists, clergymen, photographers, professional entertainers, and so forth. From the 1860s well into the early 1900s, railroad trains moved special cars outfitted for these purposes. J. A. Ennor's Palace Car, with headquarters in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, served as an example. From the time he purchased it in 1897 until 190s, it had a photo studio, darkroom, and living quarters for him and assistants, traveling in the middle and western states. It was remodeled, renamed Beauty, and operated as a traveling medical clinic by the New York Germal Specialists with a complete line of instruments for practice of surgery. After a brief time, Ennor (1861-1935) took over the car again and toured his vaudeville act as a dramatic lecturer and "traveloguer," as witnessed by the top of a magic lantern glass slide projector being held by the two men in the center of the sleigh. Ennor is likely the man in the fur coat. The railroad offered many opportunities to people of his type, as did steamboats. These speciality cars, as this photograph indicates, attracted curiosity-seekers like the small boys on the right who hung around the newest and most magnetic thing in town.
| next →