Presidential Railroad Car in 1985, pre-Terror.
Presidential Railroad Car in 1985, pre-Terror.

Ike's Train Car of Terror

Field review by the editors.

Onsted, Michigan

At one time this Pullman railroad car was the apex of luxury -- at least according to Stagecoach Stop USA, which in 1978 parked the car on the attraction's front lawn and opened it as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Railroad Car Museum. Supposedly used by President Eisenhower in the 1950s -- when Presidents traveled by train, not Air Force One -- it had mahogany paneled walls; a formal dining room with velvet-lined china cabinets; an office with bookcases and desks; a kitchen, pantry, and Porter's room; two baths; a Secret Service area; a conference room/lounge; and two bedrooms, one with a speedometer on the wall so that Ike could see how fast he was traveling while lying in bed.

The museum eventually closed, either because of dwindling numbers of tourists who remembered Ike or because the car wasn't really Ike's at all. But it was still a train car, even if it was weather-beaten and no longer glamorous. In the early 2000s its owners abandoned the connection to Ike and reopened the attraction as the Train Car of Terror, an October-only spook house with the named painted in blood-dripping letters on the side and shadowy figures in the windows. From what we've glimpsed of the interior, the mahogany paneling and velvet-lined china cabinets are long gone. But if it really was Ike's, the Train Car of Terror ranks among America's strangest presidential attractions, and the exterior makes a memorable impression year-round.

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Ike's Train Car of Terror

Stagecoach Stop Western Resort

7203 US-12, Onsted, MI
On the south side of US-12, on the east edge of the dirt parking lot for Stagecoach Stop Western Resort.
Open Oct. weekends only, (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Free to look. $10 admission.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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August 13, 2020

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