After nearly five full years of work, the Railroad Preservation Society of Fayette County has begun restoring the historic caboose that adorns Eyman Park.
In early 2010, Washington C.H. City Councilman Steve Jennings and local resident Paul Febo got into a discussion about the old caboose that has been in Eyman Park since 1982. It had started to become a real eyesore, and ideas were discussed to possibly scrap the historic train car. Not wanting to see this happen, Paul Febo and other volunteers came to the city council to attempt to save the caboose with great results. City Manager Joe Denen acknowledged the efforts and attempted to help the group.
“After meeting at the park we saw the terrible shape the caboose was in,” Febo, secretary of the railroad preservation society, said during a phone interview Tuesday. “The siding was looking very bad after years of attempted efforts to keep it together and bee hives had infested the caboose. After several meetings, the group was organized officially in 2010 and we began in the spring of 2011.”
All the wood that is part of the caboose is attached to the angle iron. The group then sought financial help from the city council to buy the siding and to clean and prime the grab irons. This was back in 2013.
“We had it primed, but we were unable to get the caboose painted in 2014, so we had to re-prime it,” Febo said. “As of a week ago Saturday we had started to paint the caboose red. The whole thing still needs a few more coats of paint, and it needs to be sealed so that it will be weather proof and will stay the beautiful red color for years to come.”
According to Febo, the group intends on painting the windows green, the door (which needs to be replaced) will also be green, the grab irons will be yellow and the chassis will be painted black. This style is based on the Baltimore-Ohio cabooses from decades ago, which had very colorful cars. A picture of one is on display at the park to show what the group is aiming for in the final product.
“We are really just doing this because of the love of railroads and industry and to give back through community service,” Febo said. “I would like to say some great things about our president since the group was founded, Martin Rennison. He is a very healthy, strong man, who is also a painter, a firefighter and is really the brains behind the efforts. Additionally, Joe Denen should be recognized for helping the group from the beginning with planning and moving forward with the goal in mind. And among all of the others I could thank, we are very thankful to those volunteers who have taken time to help with these efforts.”
The group is looking for help and will accept donations to the efforts of historically preserving Fayette County’s railroads. Anyone wanting to help the group can call Febo at (740) 335-9819.