Sedalia’s little “pink” Missouri Pacific Railroad Caboose, also known as the Sedalia Visitor Information Center, located on South Limit Avenue on the Missouri State Fairgrounds since 1986, is getting a new lease on life with the “Move Your Caboose Campaign.”
The caboose, once red but faded to pink over the years, has been acquired by the Sedalia Heritage Foundation and the Sedalia Katy Depot. Plans are to relocated it to the Katy Depot. The Foundation, through the campaign, is seeking $10,000 in donations to move it and refurbish it to its former glory.
Information provided by the Foundation stated the Katy Depot is managed by the Sedalia Heritage Foundation and is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to the preservation, maintenance, interpretation, promotion and operation and history of the site. It is designed to serve the public.
The caboose will fit right in at its new location, where it will sit on a railroad track once again, located on the building’s southeast side just past the kiosk area.
“We’re in transition right now,” said Debbie Bierman, Sedalia Heritage Foundation executive director. “It’s served its purpose basically. In all the time it was set up Sedalia didn’t have any other type of welcome center. That’s not the case any longer. With all the reorganization between the Chamber and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, they didn’t feel that it fit their purpose any more so the Heritage Foundation felt that it would be a good addition to our site. One of the ways that it was partnered, was that the fairgrounds used it during the fair as a VIP pick-up point, so they’re going to use it again this year. And then after that, as soon as we get enough money, we’ll bring it down here.”
Bierman said initially the caboose was set-up with plumbing and electricity, but once it’s moved there won’t be a need for either.
“We may extend electricity to it in time,” Bierman said. “So in the beginning it will become a piece of rolling stock that will further interpret Sedalia’s railroad heritage. We would assume at some point, we’d do an exhibit in the building or it may be housed in the caboose that talks specifically about the Missouri Pacific Shops and Missouri Pacific Railroad.”
Bierman added that each railroad company had specific identities and that in the “railroad world” the Missouri Pacific was known for their number and variety of cabooses.
“So that gives us another way to help interpret that,” she said. “And this one was not built here but it was refurbished here. In the long term, it may turn into more of an event rental space. We do a lot of kid’s birthday parties here — how cool would it be to have a birthday party in the caboose.”
They may also eventually have a model train display in the caboose, but their first concern is getting the caboose moved to the Katy Depot. Bierman said they tentatively hope to move the caboose in September.
“So we’ll have the fall to get it repainted,” she added.
The $10,000 needed for the caboose’s refurbishing includes the cost of the crane and truck for moving it and the people needed to accomplish the relocation, Bierman said.
“The actual relocation is the biggest piece of it,” she said. “Some funds may be required for paint and materials.”
The Depot will also be adding a caboose merchandise line where proceeds will go back toward ongoing costs of operation for the MOPAC caboose.
“We’re going to have mugs, T-shirts and different things,” Bierman said.
The Katy Depot, 600 E. Third St., is looking for donations and sponsorships. Various sponsorship levels are eligible as a charitable donation. Donations are payable to Sedalia Heritage Foundation. For more information call the Katy Depot at 826-2932, email at email@example.com or visit katydepotsedalia.com.