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Caboose has rolled into Preston

Fri, Oct 26th, 2012
Posted in Preston Features

By Barb Jeffers

A 1951 Milwaukee caboose has arrived at its destination at the Trailhead in Preston, Minn. after much planning and anticipation by the Preston Historical Society. The Historical Society found the caboose in Mauston, WI., and purchased it from Wayne Grietzen. Mr. Grietzen received a contract for taking old train cars after train wrecks, and also later when the railroad started to shut down he acquired more railroad cars and equipment. Dick Petsch, President of the Preston Historical Society, stated they had “six or seven cabooses to choose from.” The Historical Society had many fundraisers, donations and volunteer hours worked to bring the caboose to Preston.

The 1951 caboose joins a 1939 Milwaukee boxcar that was restored in 2005 and placed at the Trailhead. The caboose and the boxcar are two elements in a long-range plan by the Historical Society. According to Dick Petsch the Historical Society plans to reconstruct the buildings that were once part of the elevator complex. This includes the scale house, bagging shed, and scale enclosure.

Preston Historical Society member Sheila Craig stated that they are working with Steve Edwins of SMSQ Architect Firm of Northfield, Minn. and are waiting for the final drawings of the complex to be completed. Once the final drawings are received, an application for construction will be submitted. The historical complex at the Trailhead has been in the process for 25 years according to Sheila Craig, and is funded by ISTEA, as well as other grants and donations.

The Historical Society has approximately 15 active members, with a total of 60 members, some of whom are life-members who do not live close but support the Historical Society. The group meets the first Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Methodist Church in Preston, Minn., and are looking for new members. Interested parties can email for more information. The Historical Society honors the past while planning Preston’s future.

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