Our Red Caboose
Numerous legends had grown about when and how the name "Nickel Plate" was first applied to the Nickel Plate rail line, which ran through the little village of Vermilion, Ohio. The accepted version is that the name first appeared in a news article in the Norwalk Chronicle on March 10, 1881. In 1882, the Nickel Plate recognized F.R. Loomis, owner, and editor of the Norwalk Chronicle, as the originator of the term and issued him Complimentary Pass No. 1, according to Lynne L. White's book The Nickel Plate Road, A Short History of the New York, Chicago & St. Louis R.R.
The Friends of Harbour Town, Inc. is honored to have one of these fabled rail cars, a red caboose #1155, in our care. Constructed in 1909, the #1155 spent 54 years speeding through Vermilion on Buffalo-Chicago fast freights until its retirement in 1963. After years of idly lingering in the Bellevue, OH yards, it went on display in Pennsylvania, far from home rails. When the caboose became available, recognizing a great asset to show Vermilion's heritage to both current and future generations, the Friends of Harbour Town, Inc. took the opportunity to bring it back home.
"As kids, many of us were obsessed with trains. Imagine getting to work on the real thing?" said Bob Caywood, one of the volunteers committed to the daunting task of fully restoring the old caboose. Preserving history is one of the goals of the Friends of Harbour Town, Inc. The current phase of the project's volunteers is the restoration of the framing and exterior walls. We welcome donations, and we are resuming full restoration efforts again very soon. Join us to save a beautiful caboose.