By Al Jones
It was great to see so many members of the community come together to help preserve a piece of local history and relocate the old caboose to Water Tower Park in Lone Butte.
It was decided to move the caboose early Sunday morning when the Coach House Square parking lot in 100 Mile House, where the caboose sat for a number of years, would be least busy.
When my wife, Gayle, and I arrived at Coach House Square at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday (Aug. 21), Harvey and Shirley Canning were already there with Alan Boyd and they had secured the work area with cones and markers donated by Kingsgate Excavating.
Roy Allan, Vito Burtini, Mark Bulman and Brian Thatcher, all members of the Watch Lake/North Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department, arrived shortly after and assisted with traffic control and later escorted the caboose to Lone Butte.
Steve Brown, Greg Webber and Martin Godfrey from Rona lnterlakes Building Supplies, arrived with flat deck trucks and a crane.
They lifted and transported the caboose’s trucks (wheel assemblies), which weighed slightly more than 15,000 pounds, to Lone Butte and placed them on the caboose foundation at the Water Tower Park.
Pat Blackwood, Caribou Interior Crane Service owner, came with operator John Kandt and their heavy duty crane from 150 Mile House to lift the heavy old caboose onto Travis Webber’s (of T. Webber Contracting) low-bed truck.
The caboose alone weighs 45,000 pounds for a combined total weight of 30 tons or 60,000 pounds with the caboose’s trucks.
Except for a couple of pieces that had to be removed from the bottom of the caboose with a torch for transport, the move went off without any problems.
The caboose was met in Lone Butte by Lone Butte Fire Department members Travis Eyer, Willy Bernard and Gary Kremsner who controlled the highway traffic while the cranes and caboose crossed Highway 24 and backed in place.
Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Area L Director Brian Coakley was on sight at the Water Tower Park and congratulated everyone on the successful delivery of the caboose. He noted the caboose had found a good home.
It took about four hours to complete the move.
Back in June, the expansion going on at Coach House Square and the increased parking demands with the arrival of the new BC Liquor outlet and others stores required the removal of the caboose from the parking lot.
When the advertisement came out in the 100 Mile House Free Press that Anthem Properties was looking for a new home for the caboose and would consider donating it to a community group, the Lone Butte Historical Association (LBHA) jumped at the opportunity.
It was agreed the Water Tower Park was the most appropriate place in the area for the caboose, as it already has the old water tower and a speeder with a shed.
The LBHA directors agreed on a proposal and it was accepted by Anthem Properties.
Not only did the company agree to donate the old caboose to the society, but it also agreed to assist with some of the moving expenses.
Anthem Properties is to be commended for making the effort to preserve this piece of history.
The Lone Butte Historical Association is very grateful to the CRD for its support and financial contribution of the $1,500 grant in aid.
Lone Butte is an old railroad town and the 100th railroad anniversary is coming up in April 2019.
Al Jones is the Lone Butte correspondent.