Max, have you looked at chemical strippers? Peel Away makes some good products and Hy is usually around to help with guidance. Be sure to neutralize if the product choice calls for that.
Your wood info has me interested. What is poplar? Siding? Or just the Gingerbread? Poplar is usually not a normal "old-time" siding choice, particularly in a "wood rich" place like WV. Cedar, or even locust, would have seemed like stronger possibilities. Poplar is not a bad choice based on todays normal home center choices but only for the gingerbread.
The real "Big 3" are Shay, Heisler and Climax, in this writers opinion. If you don't understand that, ask the people at the Cass Scenic Railroad.