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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Caboose landmark in danger
by Jazmine Spurrier

The caboose on the Ringgold Trailway is one of those things that you look at but don't take much time to think about. You see it when you walk on the nature trail, drive by it or even bring your kids to take a look inside. The caboose is very important to our community, as it serves as a reminder of the impact the railway had on Iowa.

The caboose has been sitting on the Trailway for over 30 years. It was acquired in 1979 from the Burlington Northern Railroad after the rail line had become abandoned in 1977. The caboose served as an office for the conductor, living quarters for long trips and space for the brakeman and flagman.

However, the caboose has now deteriorated to the point that it has become dangerous. Currently it is sealed to prevent entry, and the caboose has only a year or two before the damage becomes irreparable. If fixed within the next year, the caboose can be salvaged, but it is unlikely that the stability of the frame and base will last much longer.

The Ringgold County Conservation Board has come up with a renovation plan. The project to repair the caboose is estimated to cost around $25,010, and the board has applied for two grants to help supplement the cost. If the board does not receive the grants, however, they will not be able to renovate the caboose.

The caboose will be repaired annually if the board is awarded the grants. This will cut down on future maintenance costs and increase the longevity of the caboose's life. Once the renovations are complete, the caboose will be insured.

The conservation board is greatly hoping that the funding will come together for this project. Saving the caboose is like saving a part of our community's history. Restoring the caboose to its original splendor will keep the history alive.

The Ringgold Trailway is one of the most highly used and beloved areas in Ringgold County, and the caboose is part of this treasured place. The long-term goal is to benefit generations of people and teach them about the history of the railway right here in Ringgold County.

Photographs courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2014

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, November 27, 2014

Caboose gets a make-over

The Ringgold County Conservation Board owns a caboose that is located on the Ringgold Trailway, a two-mile asphalt trail that was built on an old railroad bed east of Mount Ayr. This caboose serves as a reminder of the historical impact that the railroad had on Iowa.

The Ringgold Trailway caboose was acquired in 1979 from the Burlington Northern Railroad. This rail line was completely abandoned in 1977. It is a 1940's model caboose and has been a fixture of the Ringgold Trailway for over 30 years.

Two years ago the Conservation Board began seeking funding to help restore this tresured piece of history in Ringgold County. Director Katie Zimmerman applied for several grants and received one from the H.E.L.P. Youth Pod and one from the Ringgold Outdoor Alliance. These two local groups were essential in completing this project. Since the larger grants didn't funnel through, these two small grants made the difference when it came down to restoring the caboose or removing it from the trail for safety concerns.

The restoration process began with the north side of the caboose which was the most delapidated. The main fram on the north side had to be replaced and the work continued on from there. The sidewalls were replaced, interior floor stablized and a new roof installed.

One of the more significant changes is the restoration of the cupola. A cupola is a lookout post atop the caboose. The cupola was previously boarded up and no longer had the original appearance. In the restoration process, workers have pulled off the boarded pieces and have replaced them with windows to give back the cupola's original appearance.

The final touches, such as painting and interior work, will be done in the spring as the weather conditions warm up. The caboose will not be open until next spring at which time the Conservation Board will host a grand opening for the newly restored caboose. A ribbon cutting will commemorate the project and rededicate it to the citizens of Ringgold County.

Photographs courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2015

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, July 16, 2015, Page 10

Ringgold Trailway caboose grand reopening Sunday

The public is invited to join the Ringgold County Conservation Board for the grand reopening of the historic Ringgold Trailway caboose on Sunday, July 19 at 2 p.m. at the Ringgold Trailway.

Cookies and beverages will be available for viewers.

The Ringgold Trailway caboose was acquired in 1979 from the Burlington Northern Railroad. It is a 1940's model caboose and has been a fixture of the Ringgold Trailway for over 30 years.

In 2014 the Conservation Board began renovation efforts of the caboose due to the severe deterioration of the structure. Any original piece that could be salvaged was left on the caboose, including the interior bunks. The final touches were completed in 2015, making the caboose a safe structure for the public to once again enjoy. The Ringgold County H.E.L.P. Youth Philanthropy Group and the Ringgold Outdoor Alliance contributed to the success of this project with partial funding for the restoration.

Photographs courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2015


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