Holland Museum asks for help to complete restoration of the Pere Marquette Red Caboose

It’s been more than two decades since “The Caboose” at the Padnos Transportation Center train station in downtown Holland was restored. Since then, the Michigan weather has dulled the train car’s once-brilliant red shine.

The Holland Museum is asking for the community’s financial support to restore the Pere Marquette Red Caboose through a GoFundMe fundraiser. So far, more than 10% of the $10,000 goal has been reached. 

The funds donated will be used to make sure the restoration is done with detailed historical accuracy, as well as and include signage and interactive activities to turn the Pere Marquette into a permanent, free public display. 

“We will use the restored caboose as a permanent, outdoor, free exhibit for the community and visitors to experience Holland’s history,” says museum Executive Director Ricki Levine.

The caboose was named Pere Marquette after the train line that connects Chicago to Holland and beyond. Pere Maquette is more than just a historic caboose and train line, though. The name refers to Jaques Marquette, an early settler in Michigan who founded Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace in the mid-1600s. 

Built in 1941

CSX Transportation donated the caboose, built in 1941, to the Holland Museum. The historic artifact’s last restoration occurred in 1998, led by then-City Councilman and librarian Bob VandeVusse. 

After 23 years, the caboose’s brilliant red shine has dulled. The paint has chipped, and the metal rusted, requiring specialists to safely remove layers of varnish, repair the rust, and paint.

To achieve the restoration, power washers and sticky paper were used to remove the color, and Repcolite used 18 gallons of paint to achieve a fresh coat on the Pere Marquette. New doors were made by DeLeeuw Lumber, and 18 new window frames are also being built with frosted glass. Both Holland businesses donated their services and materials. 

But more work is needed. Donations can also be made directly to the Holland Museum. Updated restoration progress will be shared on the museum's social media and on the GoFundMe page.


Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.

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