– Our Story –

From Zero-to-Rescuing-a-Train…in 48 Hours

One morning we’re dropping our truck off to get new tires put on, and the next morning we’re loading our truck up with shovels to start digging out a gigantic, century-old caboose.
This is our story. And this is your invitation to join us and dream a big, 44,800 lb dream with us.

Thank you for joining this adventure.

-The Ramos Family

The backstory

There’s a beautiful, 104-year-old caboose in downtown Louisville.

It’s been there for half a century alongside its two sister boxcars as part of an old, now-defunct restaurant. Over the last 50 years, it’s become an iconic landmark to the downtown area.

The unexpected adventure begins

This all started with a piece of paper:
a notice of demolition.

I’d dropped my old truck off near downtown one morning to get new tires put on, and happened to walk by the long-defunct train cars restaurant on the way back. I was curious to see how the caboose was holding up since the last time I’d seen it up close years before. As I walked toward the back side of the restaurant, that’s when I saw it. A piece of paper hung on the door.

It was a notice of demolition.

A wild idea…

We couldn’t believe it.

We got in touch with the owners, and sure enough, the caboose and its sister boxcars were slated to be demolished – in a matter of weeks. We felt like we had to do something, but we weren’t sure if there was anything we could reasonably do. Our son Tate, however, was all-in. Before bed that night, he even made a flyer – complete with a crossed-out wrecking ball – and a reminder for the next day. He taped it to his bedside:

“Tell everyone about the caboose. Table Talk. Class Share. DONATE!”

From wild idea to reality

“If you can move it before the demolition crew shows up, we’d love to see you save it.”

The owners had exhausted every reasonable avenue to remove the train cars and keep them from getting demolished, but with the property sold – pending the removal of the train cars restaurant – and increasing pressure from the City, their hands were tied. The demolition crew was scheduled to show up in a matter of weeks, with heavy equipment, to raze everything on-site.

The owners told us that if we’re able to extract the caboose before the demolition crew arrives, we could save it.

Go time

We got to work.

We started enlisting friends and neighbors to help. We called in favors. We rented a giant excavator (and quickly learned how to drive it). We bought a cutting torch on Craigslist (and Youtube’d how to use it!). We worked in below-freezing temps, we worked through 4″ of snow, and we trudged through the mud once the snow melted. Digging, chainsawing, torching, grinding, prying, and clawing every step of the way, we did everything we could to get the old caboose ready to be craned out.

Before we knew it, staring back at us were the giant, now unearthed and cut-free-from-the-tracks wheels. At one end of the caboose lay a morass of mangled tree trunks that we’d chainsawed free. Timbers and pieces of the old restaurant’s roof and its dilapidated wooden platform lay all around us.

As we stared at the caboose, we realized that it was almost free; almost ready to be craned out. We stood there in awe, realizing that maybe – just maybe – this could actually work.

With less than 5 weeks to meet our goal, we need your help!

We have less than 5 weeks left to relocate the caboose, and we’re asking for your help to make this happen. Rescuing a 104-year-old caboose and salvaging its two sister boxcars before the demolition crew shows up is going to take an estimated $10,000 in moving costs and a small army of volunteers, and necessary repairs to protect it from the elements are going to take another $4,200 in materials.

Will you join us by making a contribution to help save The Louisville Caboose and salvage its sister boxcars?

Back the Campaign