Santa Fe Working To Keep Its Historical, Iconic Red Caboose

A Texas historical foundation group has slowed down efforts to sell the famous and iconic red caboose to anyone willing to pay the asking price of $17,000. The Santa Fe Southern Railroad owns the red caboose and decided to sell it because they need the money, but several groups and individuals have stepped forward to put a stop to their efforts.

The Texas Historical Foundation says they are willing to match any donations up to $8,500 in order to keep the red caboose in Santa Fe, where it has sat on the corner of the public right of way at St. Francis Drive and Cerrillos Road for nearly two decades. The caboose acts as a marker leading into downtown Santa Fe and its developing railyard district. The Foundation decided to get involved in the efforts because Santa Fe has connections to the original Republic of Texas. The Foundation wants donations to be in memory of longtime businessman Abe Silver [Jr]. Silver, along with his wife, ran a retail store in Santa Fe until he passed away last May.

“He absolutely loved railroads,” said one of the foundation board members about Silver. “He was like the pillar of this community.”

Rick Martinez, who is chairman of the Keep Santa Fe Beautiful nonprofit, is working to make people aware that they might lose their iconic red caboose by notifying the newspapers and talking with city counsel members. Martinez was granted permission to repaint the red caboose in 2014 after much controversy.

“Kal Ziebarth, CEO of the company that owns the largely inactive Santa Fe Southern, said that there have been negotiations with one potential buyer, but that his company ‘wants to cooperate’ with any effort to keep the red caboose in Santa Fe at its current location,” wrote the Albuquerque Journal.

Both Martinez and Ziebarth agree that the red caboose is going to play a part in a pedestrian/ bicycle underpass trail that the city is planning on starting construction on this fall. The project will be a 3.8 million dollar project.

“People respect that red caboose,” said Martinez.

Martinez hopes that the city of Santa Fe will get involved in working to keep the red caboose at home. He would like to see this become a community project and hopes that the city will donate at least $5,000 toward the efforts.

Ziebarth stated that the red caboose is most likely a Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad steel caboose from the late 1940s or early 1950s and is around 50 years old.

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