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Dozens of Parker residents gathered in the early morning hours Feb.17, to watch the removal of the caboose located at 11027 S. Pikes Peak Drive. The beloved caboose has been an unofficial part of Parker's history since 1996, and residents expressed sadness as they watched the caboose be lifted by a crane and placed on a flatbed truck, to be transported to its new home at Caboose in Lakewood.
“I'm sad to see it go,” said Brenda Lanson, who stopped by to watch the removal. “It's been here as long as I've lived here, and was just a great marker to give people directions by. I guess at least it's going to a good home.”
The caboose has been the sight for many senior photos, prom photos, family photos and a source of entertainment and adventure for children, as it's always been open for them to climb on and play around. According to Bill Byers, member of the Denver and New Orleans Train Club, who originally bought and placed the caboose in Parker, the new owner of the property requested the removal of the caboose, which could pose a liability issue.
“We sold the building last fall, and were asked to get rid of the caboose by the new owners,” said Byers. “But we were able to find a good home for it, at Caboose, which used to be Caboose Hobbies, in Lakewood. They are going to incorporate it into their landscape and people can still enjoy it.”
The caboose came to town more than 20 years ago, when the train club bought the property. They built the building to resemble a train depot, and added the caboose for a bit of authentic flair. The car, Rio Grande caboose number 01416, was built in 1941 at the Burnham shops in Denver, and was in service until the early 1990's.
Kevin Ruble, owner of Caboose, at 10800 W. Alameda Ave, purchased the caboose after hearing it was for sale by the Denver and New Orleans Train Club.
“You hardly see cabooses anymore, they're just not used,” said Ruble. “I had seen that the building was for sale, and reached out to see about buying the caboose. It's going to make a great addition to our landscape at Caboose.
Moving the caboose, which is almost 40 feet long and weighs 29 tons, took nearly 10 hours to load and transport the 30 miles to Lakewood. The caboose was lifted by a crane and set on a flatbed truck, then the wheels and tracks it sat on were lifted and moved as well.
“It's not every day that you get to see a caboose ambling down the highway, not to mention flying into position here at its new home at Caboose in its role as a historic landmark,” said Ruble.
“The arrival of the caboose comes just before the one-year-anniversary of Caboose's new location in Lakewood, as well as the 80th year of Caboose and its Denver retail icon predecessors,” said Ruble.
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