Poster, Chessie 29, Letterpress

  • Model: PS-23-218


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11" x 17" (standard frame size)

Our campaign to restore the famous railroad passenger car “Chessie 29” is getting a boost, thanks to a collaboration between our non-profit organization and Base Camp Printing Company of Charleston, West Virginia.  Owners Emily and Betsy Sokolosky harnessed their vintage printing expertise to manufacture a custom-designed poster the C&O Historical Society is now selling to fundraise for and promote Chessie 29’s return to the rails.  The sister-owned shop strives to keep their process identical to when letterpress printing was modern technology, which C&OHS explains is what initially caused the historical group to reach out to the owners with their proposal.

While the Charleston-based print shop may be best known for its designs paying tribute to the Mountain State, the former C&O Railway passenger car highlighted in their latest piece has historical connections to the state that made the partnership especially appropriate.

Chessie 29 holds a famous distinction in West Virginia history because of its multiple connections to The Greenbrier at White Sulphur Springs.  Most notably in the car's history, in 1956, C&O Railway President Walter Tuohy, to whom Chessie 29 was permanently assigned, and President Dwight Eisenhower traveled on board together from Washington to White Sulphur Springs.  During this trip, the agreement was made through which the United States government constructed its top-secret bunker under The Greenbrier to house members of the U.S. Congress in the event of a nuclear attack on the nation’s capital.  Arriving in the Mountain State together on Chessie 29, the guise for the meeting was the "Summit of the Americas" at The Greenbrier with other North American leaders.

In reality, it was at this time that Mr. Tuohy and President Eisenhower agreed upon a collaboration by which the federal government funded construction and future staffing of a bunker complex with cut-and-cover concealment, disguised under a to-be-constructed wing for The Greenbrier, which the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway owned at the time.  This bunker, meant to house and allow the surviving U.S. Congress members to function following an attack, was staffed and kept ready for possible use from the period just before the Cuban Missile Crisis until 1992.

Because it is such an irreplaceable asset, we have prioritized saving this piece of rolling history and returning it to operational condition as a mobile museum and teaching tool for future generations.

Base Camp Printing Company’s poster design for the C&O Historical Society is inspired by a photograph from our archive showing Chessie 29 at the Logan, West Virginia train station.  To create the pieces necessary to finish each poster, Emily and Betsy Sokolosky hand carved linoleum blocks and printed each block one at a time, one poster at a time.  The process required carving separate blocks for the navy, yellow, and green colors used in their depiction of the scene at Logan.  Adhering to the traditional practices that have made the sister-run shop so unique in the 21st century, the Chessie 29 poster was completely printed on Base Camp Printing Company’s 1950s-era Vandercook printing press, which the shop uses for printing all posters designs.

Reflecting on Base Camp Printing Company’s involvement with the Chessie 29 campaign, owner Emily Sokolosky stated, “This project is why we do what we do.  We love creating art that promotes a deeper understanding and appreciation for history and the past.  Combining the history of printing with the history of the C&O is a dream collaboration that we are so honored to be a part of.”


Measuring 11" x 17", this run of Base Camp Printing Company posters made for the C&O Historical Society benefit our fundraising campaign to restore Chessie 29.  Orders may also be placed by contacting the organization’s Business Office by telephone at 540-862-2210, Monday-Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM, or by email at

Base Camp Printing is a letterpress shop and design studio based in Charleston, West Virginia.  Owners Emily and Betsy Sokolosky specialize in handmade posters, stationery, and original art.  The sisters strive to keep the shop’s process identical to when letterpress printing was modern technology.


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