Renovations on caboose underway

By Staff, 01/5/17 1:58 PM


PRESCOTT – Depending on the weather, renovation on the caboose at the Nevada County Depot Museum could be finished by the end of the month.

Ken Petre, museum curator, said the contract to refurbish the caboose was won by Charlie Lawrence, who bid $10,000 for the project. The renovation work includes stripping away all the old paint, inside and out, repainting the entire rail car, and redoing the seating on the inside – except for the upholstery.

Petre said the caboose contains an old oil-burning stove and an “ice box” where passengers and crew possibly kept their food on trips. While an exact age of the caboose isn’t known, Petre said from what he’s been able to find out, it was built in either the 1920s or 1930s. The caboose is rare and made out of wood.

Once the renovations are done, he said, the idea will be to allow people to tour it and possibly hold fundraising events there. The overall goal is for the caboose to be another tourist attraction for the community.

According to Petre, Wal-Mart and Firestone each gave grants of $1,000 to the project, and the Prescott Rotary recently donated $2,000. An anonymous donor, though, contributed $10,000 in memory of former curator John Teeter. He said the Bank of Prescott donated some fencing as well. Once the project is complete, he continued, a plaque will be purchased recognizing those who donated to the rail car’s renovation.

Ryan Harvey, Petre said, is talking to a company that does metal buildings and roofing, checking to see what an overhang for the caboose would cost. If possible, he added, the area around the caboose will be bricked in, and become a mini-park.

“More people have stopped in since it’s been here,” he said of the caboose attracting interest. He added it would for the museum to be able to build a ramp so handicapped people could look inside it, or possibly just look in through the windows from outside.

In addition, Petre is looking for grants to put in a flower garden in the area of the caboose. Were it economically feasible, he said, it would be nice for the museum to be able to purchase the lot across the street to be used as a community garden. He said eventually he’d like to see the area around the museum and caboose have some equipment for children to play on.

Another goal Petre has, is to try and get area schools to visit the museum and caboose to learn more about local history. Eventually, he added, it would be nice if the museum had a gift shop to sell souvenirs and Prescott/Nevada County memorabilia.


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