TriMet starts tearing down building, discovers a hidden rail car

TriMet starts tearing down building, discovers a hidden rail car
KATU photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. - TriMet construction crews stumbled onto a piece of history when they started tearing down a building to make way for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project.

Workers discovered an old rail car, built around 1885, that had been hidden by drywall in a building at Southeast 18th and Holgate.

"We noticed the entryway to the ceiling was kind of rounded and a little bit more interesting than you would normally see inside a building of that style," said Nick Stewart, TriMet's rail property specialist.

After the rail car was retired, it was turned into the Brooklyn Diner, which later became a pizza place and then an appliance repair shop. At some point, a building was constructed around the old rail car and the relic was forgotten.

TriMet plans to donate some of the fixtures to the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation. The rest of the structure will be put in storage until they can figure out what to do with it.

A photo from 1962 of the same intersection where TriMet discovered the rail car. On the far right is what is believed to be the old Brooklyn Diner. Photo courtesy of the City of Portland Archives, Oregon A2005-001.1122.