Old Pullman car on AirBnB lets enthusiasts, visitors sleep like a president

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One Chicago-area family is now renting overnight stays in their circa-1906 Pullman car, the Constitution.
"Amy" via Air BnB
An interior view of a circa-1906 Pullman car once used by U.S. presidents.
"Amy" via Air BnB
PLANO, Ill. — A family in Illinois is letting their guests sleep like presidents aboard an old Pullman car that was converted into a home back in the 1930s. The family recently listed the car — a combination sleeper and diner built back in 1906 — on AirBnb, an online vacation and lodging service.

The old heavy weight, dubbed The Constitution, is particularly noteworthy because it once hosted Presidents Warren Harding and Woodrow Wilson.

The Constitution was one of three Pullman cars completed in January 1906 for charter service, according to its current owner, Willie Cade. In the early years of the car’s existence, it could be charted for a day at the staggering price of $75 — nearly $2,000 in today's dollars. If you wanted the car for two or more days the price dropped to $50 a day. The price included the services of a cook and two attendants.

In the 1930s, according to local newspaper accounts, the car was purchased by Lauren J. Drake and moved to Plano where he had it taken off the rails and placed on a piece of property he owned. The car was then turned into a weekend home, about an hour away from Chicago. The car has been owned by a number of family members over the years.

Cade says his family decided to put it on AirBnb so others could enjoy it. The car rents for $136 a night. The car has a kitchen, dining room, four bedrooms and an “observation room” at the end of the car. Cade says eventually he hopes to restore the car’s interior to exactly how it appeared in the early 1900s.

“It’s just a wonderful place to getaway from it all,” he says. “It’s just a great car.”
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