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Milwaukee Road Caboose No. 02095 dedicated to Preston exhibit


By Mitchell Walbridge

Mon, Aug 25th, 2014
Posted in Preston Features

Milwaukee Road Historical Society President Bob Storozuk addressed the crowd at the dedication of the Milwaukee Road Caboose #02095 to the exhibit in Preston, Minn. Photo by Mitchell Walbridge

Members of the Preston Historical Society, Bob Storozuk who is the President of the Milwaukee Road Historical Society, Representative Greg Davids and the public gathered at the site of the historic Milwaukee Elevator on August 16 to welcome the addition of Milwaukee Road Caboose No. 02095 to Preston.

The caboose, built in 1951, was recovered by the Preston Historical Society after a search commenced in October of 2007. With rumor that a caboose was located Prairie du Chien, Wis., historical society members pursued the lead only to come up empty handed. However, just a month later in November members found what they were looking for in Mauston, Wis.

After a considerable down payment and a financing plan of 18 months, more challenges faced the historical society’s members. Transporting the caboose turned out to be no easy task while also being costly. Within the minutes of one Preston Historical Society meeting, a line read, “We are short funds to pay for the caboose to bring it home.”

With Caboose No. 02095 paid of in June of 2009 and arriving in Preston in late September, restoration was ready to begin, though the bulk of the work was done in 2012-2013.

A significant amount of detailing was completed for the restoration. Welding, setting on original rails, painting, reupholstering and new lettering were all preparations for the dedication program on August 16.

Preston Historical Society President Dick Petsch explained that many of the venders who ended up working on the caboose were also volunteers who put in a countless number of hours on the project.

Special speaker Storozuk representing the Milwaukee Road Historical Society presented a message at the dedication. The Milwaukee Road Historical Society, or MRHA as it’s known, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation that focuses its efforts to study and preserve the history of the Milwaukee Road.

The Milwaukee Road is a railway system that is linked to Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and the Pacific Railroad. The network had its inception in 1850. Though the MRHA does not affiliate itself with any railroad company, it is considered an official historical body dealing with the Road itself, its predecessors and its subsidiaries.

In his delivery to the audience, Storozuk explained the importance of the railroad and its history, specifying that the railroad once held great value in Preston.

MRHA President Storozuk said that the MRHA has members in every state, Europe, even Asia and New Zealand. “Over 90 percent of towns in the U.S. had links to the railroad,” Storozuk explained. “They [railroads] were the lifelines of towns and cities. Towns would actually move to the railroad. But today times have changed.” Because of this change, historical restoration and preservation is more important than ever.

While railroads and trains may not hold the same role of practicality that they once did, their historical value has since went up. Although they’re not as widely used for shipping commodities or for passenger transportation, railroads, in addition to trains and depots now take on a different role.

Storozuk concluded by saying, “The people in this town and area have done a tremendous job. I’ve been all around the country and this is one of the best projects of preservation and historical restoration that I have ever seen.”

Refreshments followed the conclusion of the program with an opportunity for individuals to tour the caboose and visit with President Storozuk and other project team members.

The work of the Preston Historical Society is never done. A list of projects still awaits them as they continue their diligent work. For more information on the Preston Historical Society visit www.prestonmnhistory.com. For more information on the Milwaukee Road Historical Society visit www.mrha.com.

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