Stillwater News Press

Local News

October 17, 2012

Red caboose rolls to its new home in Perkins

STILLWATER, Okla. — It stood as a beacon for decades at the corner of Main Street and McElroy Road. Wednesday, the McDonald’s red caboose rolled south on U.S. Highway 177 and east on State Highway 33 to its new home — the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza in Perkins.

It joined the Cimarron Valley Railroad Museum, which was donated to the plaza in 2011 by Robert F. Read. The railroad museum, originally located in Cushing, started in 1970 when the Read family acquired the Santa Fe Depot from Yale.

The caboose will be used as an example of the rolling stock used by the Santa Fe railroad, Oklahoma Territorial Plaza Trust chairman David Sasser said.

“It fits in nicely,” Sasser said. “It will be used as the office for the Perkins Parks and Recreation Department,” Sasser said.

The plaza also features the Frank Eaton home, Longan-Davis log cabin, farm museum, old church center, one-room schoolhouse and a circa 1957 service station.

The Territorial Plaza recently raised $25,000 at a dinner and auction, Sasser said. Approximately $10,000 will go to the city of Perkins to cover the cost of utilities at the plaza. The rest will be used to restore the church and train depot, Sasser said.

Biff and Sue Horrocks own the McDonald’s restaurants in Stillwater and Perkins. The Horrocks recently renovated the Main Street and McElroy Road restaurant as part of the chain’s corporate makeover plan.

The caboose just didn’t fit with the new style, Biff Horrocks said.

Moving the caboose is the last piece of the renovation, he said. The area will be freshened up with new landscaping.

The caboose has been a Stillwater landmark for decades. Horrocks said it came with the McDonald’s restaurant when he purchased it in 2004.

The Horrocks weighed their options when they realized the caboose needed to be relocated.

Several people expressed interest in buying it, he said, but Perkins resident Harland Wells contacted the Horrocks to see if they would donate it to the plaza.

“It was a great idea. We decided to keep it here locally and not sell it,” Horrocks said.

The caboose won’t be too far away from a McDonald’s restaurant. It can easily be seen from the parking lot of the Perkins eatery.

“Sue and I were happy to be in a position to donate it. Now, it will always be here,” Horrocks said.

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