NEW BUFFALO — The New Buffalo Railroad Museum officially opened its refurbished C&O caboose on Memorial Day (May 31).

“Adding a caboose to our museum collection has been a long-held dream since our beginnings in 1989,” said Railroad Museum Board President Vanessa Holecek Thun. “We are grateful to CSX Transportation for donating C&O Caboose 904126, and thanks to The Pokagon Fund, the Wilens family and Nora Duffy … along with many individuals and businesses for your support for the relocation, installation, painting and cleaning of the caboose.”

Pokagon Fund Board Chairman Rob Gow said the Fund awarded a grant to the Railroad Museum in 2019 to obtain the caboose and get it to New Buffalo, adding that 47-plus families kicked in the rest of the money for the matching grant.

“The Pokagon Fund is really proud to have been a leader on this project, and we really wish everybody success including all those people that have made those contributions.”

Katha Kissman, a Railroad Museum co-founder and current Board treasurer/volunteer administrator, said The Pokagon Fund has been a key supporter of the Museum over the years, including a recent grant that allowed them to restore an outdoor deck and re-paint the main building.

Kissman said she and Railroad Museum Board Vice President Todd Van Buskirk cleaned out the caboose when it first arrived, noting, “You wouldn’t believe what was in there.”

She also acknowledged co-founders Nadra and Al Kissman, Rol Oselka and Ron Oselka, and former board members Janet Hayes, Karla Kissman, and Jan Adamec, various donors and museum staff including current docent Nancy Kennedy.

Katha Kissman said June 1 also marks the opening of Phase 1 of the Railroad Museum’s new Veterans Display in the C&O Chessie box car, adding that Hayes, Nadra and Al Kissman, Shirley Paloucek and George Slechta were responsible for the first veterans display.

She said Marg Zientarski Putzke and Jim Smitchger have helped create the new “first-class exhibit,” adding that there are tow more phases to come.

The New Buffalo Railroad Museum, located at 530 South Whittaker St., is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

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