Between work, family, and getting this whole campaign ready to launch, I haven’t had time to post any updates….until now.
But hey – this is a big one to start with!
A few Saturdays ago (before everything was blanketed with nearly 2 feet of snow) our good friend, Bryon, came out to help unearth the caboose. In the middle of the day, a kind lady with a warm smile happened to wander over from Main Street, curious about what the two ragamuffins in the distance were up to as they clambered around an old, faded, red-and-green caboose.
At the time, my head was down trying to figure out how to light the torch for the first time (and, you know, not blow myself up in the process). Bryon happened to see the woman walking over toward us and met her near the train tracks that lay between us and the street. The two of them chatted for a bit, and Bryon shared the story of what we were attempting to do in saving the caboose and salvaging the boxcars.
After a few minutes of successfully not blowing myself up with the torch, but unsuccessfully lighting it, I decided to give it a rest for a minute and looked back to see Bryon and the woman standing near the tracks.
I wandered over and introduced myself, and the woman warmly shook my hand. She asked a bit more about the caboose, what we were doing, and what we hoped to do with it. We chatted for a bit under the mid-day sun – us two scruffy guys clad in work gear, and this lady with the kind smile. She had a tablet in one hand where she typed out the name of the website that we’d just put up for the project, and she asked lots of great questions. For her part, she’d been traveling a bit. Recently, to Japan, and this was her first time in Louisville. I’m still not really sure what compelled her to stop in our little town.
We shook hands again and said our goodbyes, and I got back to my as-yet-unsuccessful efforts to cut through huge pieces of metal with a flaming torch.
A few weeks went by. I’d learned how to use the torch, and after a few late nights and long weekend days, we’d gotten most of the caboose cut free in that time.
And then, one Sunday morning I woke up and noticed that I’d gotten an email in my new ‘Louisville Caboose’ inbox (which, you know, at that point was strange since I’d only told approximately 3 people about it). It was from the the kind woman with the warm smile that we’d met a few weeks prior out at the caboose.
And in the email she was offering to contribute up to $2,000 to the campaign as a matching contribution.
I (quite literally) couldn’t believe it. Why? How? I don’t understand…she’s not even from here…what? Who does this sort of thing?!?
To say we were floored would be an understatement.
It seems that everything along the path of saving the caboose, ever since we started, has just….happened. Kind of like this. Almost apart from us and our efforts, it feels like this way has just been, somehow, paved before us. Not that it hasn’t been hard, hard work – it has – but I’m continually amazed at how this process has unfolded. And what people can do when they band together. (More stories to come on this!)
Back to the email – the woman requested to remain anonymous. This wonderful human, who we’d spoken to on a sunny Saturday afternoon at the railroad tracks for all of five minutes, who offered to essentially help us raise a total of $4,000 toward saving a caboose that she had literally just seen for the very first time, on her one-and-only visit to Louisville, USA, didn’t even want anything out of this. Just…to help.
To the amazing and anonymous woman putting up the matching contribution, thank you. Put simply, people like you help restore my faith in humanity.
And from me, from my family – and from the people of Louisville who don’t want to see this thing get demolished – thank you.
Join the discussion 2 Comments
Just to say that I am so pleased that an attempt is being made to salvage the caboose and the boxcars sited off South Boulder Road in Louisville, before the site clearance people start work. My wife and I have lived in Louisville for just over twelve years. I have seen these railroad items gradually deteriorate during this time. Obviously, the top priority at this time is to raise sufficient funds to be able to remove the vehicles from the site without them disintegrating into a heap of lumber and rusted steel. Please excuse me for having just stated the obvious! I would very much like to provide some assistance with this project. Having been retired for a number of years I do not have the ability to help much with finances at this time. I can, however help with some hand excavation and temporary fixing wooden boards to make them secure. Not unfortunately, anything requiring heavy work anymore!
In the longer term I may be able to help with contacts over researching the history of this equipment. I am a member of the Colorado Rail Road Museum on 44th Avenue in Golden, Colorado. They have an excellent Reference Library with resources regarding Railroad company equipment records and other paperwork that may be relevant as well as many books and a comprehensive photographic collection.If you would like more information at a later time, I would be most happy to provide more. My wife is a member of the Superior Historical Commission and I may have some access to ways to apply for grants from History Colorado and other groups with an interest in preserving items of historical interest based in Colorado.. Best Wishes, David Cartwright
David, first, thank you for your message and your support of this crazy project!! I’ve also sadly watched them deteriorate over the years, and was so, so thrilled once we were able to work out a plan – however short it was – to save the caboose and salvage the boxcars.
Thank you also for your willingness to jump in and help as you’re able! I’ve added you to the volunteer list, and will be in touch soon with ways you can help on that end. And as to your offer to research the history of the rail cars, it would be amazing to lean on you to dig up information for us to use both in renovating the caboose and to help collect more on its history, and that of the boxcars.
I’ll email you directly so we can connect further on all fronts, and David, thanks again for reaching out! Looking forward to meeting you.
Travis Ramos (and Family!)