A Pennsylvania Railroad (PARR) “Bobber” Cabin Car — a caboose — made its debut at the Spartansburg Community Fair this year and the plan is to renovate it into a fair museum by the 100th fair in 2022.
Built in 1916 in Altoona, the caboose is wood with a metal frame. It was sold to the the Lake Erie, Franklin, and Clarion Railroad in 1948 and was in use until 1953.
Connie Sitterley, the fair secretary, said that it was sold and moved to a forest near Brookville to be used as a camp. The caboose remained in the woods with various owners until it was offered to the fair.
Connie said the condition of the caboose was pretty sad, but the fair board decided to rescue it with the hopes of rehabilitating it into a museum.
In April of 2020, the caboose was removed from the woods and hauled to the fairgrounds and into the large horse barn.
Three fair board members concentrated their efforts on the rescue and renovation, attempting to bring the caboose back to its original beauty.
To begin, all of the tongue-and-groove siding and particle board that covered the sides was removed and replaced, using reclaimed tongue-and-groove flooring from a large chicken barn that was being torn down on Jefferson Street.
Next, many layers of roofing and tar paper were removed. Much of the wood had to be removed as well.
“Because of the condition of the roof, the rafters on two-thirds of the caboose had to be replaced,” Sitterley said. “The rafters are curved to produce the arched roofline. A pattern was taken to an Amish craftsman who replicated 10 of the rafters.”
Major portions of the cupola and all of its roof was rebuilt. All eight windows in the cupola and four on the sides had to be recreated.
The ends of the caboose have been maintained as close to original as possible. Ladders, handrails and railings required repair. Front and rear platforms were rebuilt.
As they restored the caboose, they left the inside design mostly as they found it. They repainted it in a green color that was matched from small chips they peeled from the wall. The matching modern color is called “Cucumber Salad.”
The outside was painted in PARR Tuscan Red, a common color for a PARR caboose.
Authentic marker lights — lanterns — were in place during the fair and a recent addition of an original PARR cook stove can be seen on the inside of the caboose.
Work will continue over the next year.
“If anyone has memorabilia from past fairs that they would be willing to share for the museum, please let us know,” Sitterley said.
— Zumba is Thursday at the Water Street Apartments Gym, 150 Water Street. The class begins at 6 p.m. and there is a fee.
Do you have something to share? Carol may be reached at SpartansburgSpotlight@outlook.com. People are welcome to submit news, activities, and items of interest pertaining to Spartansburg. Email by noon on Saturdays.