2015-09-15 / Front Page

Caboose Relocated From Spencer’s WestSide To New Home In Town Of Cloverdale

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer


Ralph Schwartz of K&R Construction was tasked with relocating the landmark caboose from Spencer’s west side to the town of Cloverdale on Thursday, September 10. (Staff Photos) Ralph Schwartz of K&R Construction was tasked with relocating the landmark caboose from Spencer’s west side to the town of Cloverdale on Thursday, September 10. (Staff Photos) From one small town hardware store to another, an old New York Central Railroad caboose was relocated late last week from its longtime home on Spencer’s west side to its new home in Cloverdale.

Since relocating to Spencer in 1992 from Franklin, Indiana the caboose has become a roadside attraction of sorts, visible to motorists on State Road 46 and patrons of Spencer Hardware and Lumber (formerly Hanlon Brothers Hardware).

Owner Mark Huntzinger said the ‘trucks’ or wheels underneath the caboose were redone in 1956.

“In the beginning it was an office for my construction business for about five years. Then John and Brady Hanlon and I made a loose partnership and we started selling lumber down there, and at the same time, I used the caboose as an office to figure jobs for new homes and dealing with contractors,” Huntzinger explained. “That’s pretty much what it’s going to be here (in Cloverdale), too. My son Kyle handles the new home takeoffs and contractor sells up here now, so the caboose and lumber sales will still stay in the family. All we did was relocate it.”


Larry Linneman poses alongside a mannequin dressed in a railroad conductor’s uniform that belonged to his father Ray Earl Linneman, a longtime employee of the Pennsylvania Rail Road. (Staff Photo) Larry Linneman poses alongside a mannequin dressed in a railroad conductor’s uniform that belonged to his father Ray Earl Linneman, a longtime employee of the Pennsylvania Rail Road. (Staff Photo) The delicate transport north on U.S. 231 was handled by local contractor Ralph Schwartz and his K&R Construction crew.

“I was really impressed with the effort they put in to make sure there was no damage done,” Huntzinger said. “They really did an excellent job.”

Huntzinger noted that anyone who would like to stop by and see the caboose is welcome to visit its new home at Cloverdale Building Supplies, located at 51 East Logan Street in Cloverdale.

“I want to thank everybody in Spencer and Owen County for their support over the years. The community was really good to us and I hope the community here (in Cloverdale) will be just as good to my son,” Huntzinger added. “It’s kind of neat to see it start over and hopefully it will flourish just like the store (in Spencer) did.”

A fellow Owen County resident and employee of Huntzinger, Larry Linneman says he has been around trains for as far back as he can remember. His father, Ray Earl Linneman served as a conductor for 42 years on the caboose of a Pennsylviana Rail Road train.

He recalled how on June 6, 1946 his dad was on a caboose very similar to the one relocated to Cloverdale.

“They had been changing tracks around and moving cars in the yard. When they went to get on the caboose, somebody start =ed shooting at it,” he said. “They turned around and it was a couple of young boys shooting at the red reflectors on the back. As (my dad) turned to go back onto the train, a bullet caught him in the left shoulder and went all the way through. It knocked him to the other end of the caboose. The next day, my mother was in the hospital giving birth to me.”

Linneman said when Huntzinger began to discuss relocating the caboose from Spencer to Cloverdale, a new idea was born.

“I would like people to write to me and tell me their railroad stories. We’re looking for very interesting stories,” he said. “Both of my grandfathers worked on the railroad.

He also recalled how his father and others would create ‘living quarters’ to make the long rides more comfortable.

“They had ice boxes that they packed in saw dust and I can remember going to get the block of ice. They also had a potbelly stove in the wintertime, so they virtually lived on that caboose,” Linneman said.

In addition, Linneman is spearheading a ‘name the caboose’ contest.

“We’re going to have a little museum there in Cloverdale and the mannequin will be on the caboose,” he added. “If somebody has some kind of railroad icon they want to bring, we’d be happy to include it in the museum.”

Linneman said anyone wishing to share a story, railroad memorabilia, or to suggest a name can stop by Cloverdale Building

Supplies on Saturday mornings. Suggestions can also be mailed to Larry Linneman, 2821 North Cataract Road, Spencer, IN 47460.

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