Historically Katy
All About The Caboose

| July 1, 2017

For many years the number 17 was painted on Katy's caboose, though­ no one could remember why that number was chosen. When the caboose was repainted in 2010, the Katy Heritage Society changed it to 79, because 1979 was the year the group was founded to save the MKT Depot.

For many years the number 17 was painted on Katy’s caboose, though­ no one could remember why that number was chosen. When the caboose was repainted in 2010, the Katy Heritage Society changed it to 79, because 1979 was the year the group was founded to save the MKT Depot.

by Carol Adams

The Katy Heritage Society’s MKT caboose is one of the most well-loved and recognizable features in the Katy area. Versions of it are found on letterheads and logos and hundreds of personal photographs, but few folks know the real story of our caboose.

The caboose was actually never part of the MKT line. It was built by the Russell Snowplow Company for the Pittsburgh Shawmut and Northern Railroad in 1910. The Copper Range Railroad bought the caboose for $2,177 in 1913. It remained in service on the Keweenaw Peninsula, the northernmost part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, until 1970. In 1972 the caboose was sold to a private party and it was documented in the Daily Mining Gazette that the new owner planned to convert it for use as a backyard guest house. Thankfully, that conversion was never completed and the caboose became the property of the George Foundation in 1980. The Katy Heritage Society acquired the caboose in 1986 to park beside the restored MKT Depot.

The caboose was painted to resemble one from the MKT Railroad and parked at the northeast corner of Avenue D and Franz Road. In 2005 the city of Katy acquired land near the original depot location and the caboose and the MKT Depot were moved once again to create Railroad Park at 5615 First Street.

The caboose requires a lot of maintenance but is in excellent condition for a 105-year-old rail car. Thanks to the Katy Heritage Society, it will be a Katy landmark for many years to come.

Carol Adams is the author of HISTORIC KATY: An Illustrated History

The caboose was parked at Katy City Park for almost 20 years.

The caboose was parked at Katy City Park for almost 20 years.

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The caboose is not open for tours but is still in near original condition. Freight receipts from the CRRR are still in the desk drawers.

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The Copper Range caboose #5 in 1954.

by Carol Adams


Category: Katy Texas History

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