Mojave Chamber caboose

This Southern Pacific Railroad train caboose, a Mojave landmark since the early 1970s, has been in storage since 2014, but it might get a new home after the Mojave Chamber of Commerce received a piece of property on the northwest corner of K Street and Panamint Street.

MOJAVE — The Mojave Chamber of Commerce is working with the Mojave Transportation Museum to move the caboose.

Southern Pacific Railroad founded the township of Mojave in 1876. The Mojave Chamber of Commerce acquired a Southern Pacific Railroad train caboose in the early 1970s.

Mike Riccomini, former owner of Reno’s Coffee Shop, allowed the chamber to set up the distinctive red caboose as an office on the northwest corner of the parking lot on Sierra Highway. For more than 40 years the caboose remained a Mojave landmark until the restaurant was sold, according to a donor letter from the nonprofit Mojave Transportation Museum.

In 2014, the chamber was notified that the caboose had to be moved off of the property. It has been in storage ever since, the letter said.

According to the letter, Golden Queen Mining donated a piece of property to the Mojave Chamber on the northwest corner of K Street and Panamint Street. It is building a small rest stop park for travelers and wants to place the caboose there as a tribute to Mojave’s 1876 founding.

“Because this project is a part of Mojave’s transportation history, we feel it is appropriate to help save the Mojave Chamber of Commerce caboose,” Mojave Transportation Museum President Cathy Hansen wrote.

Donations designated for the caboose move may be made to the Mojave Chamber of Commerce or to the Mojave Transportation Museum.

“Mojave is a train town, and we would like to save the few bits of community history that still exist,” Heather Benes, project coordinator for the chamber, wrote in an email.

Benes added:  “It’s time to bring it back. And, maybe, bring back the spirit of the community as well.”

The total cost to move the caboose is $16,500, which includes a low profile trailer, bracing, stands and pads, and security fencing. The caboose does not have wheels, or trucks, so it has to be mounted on the trailer and secured once it is on site.

Donations designated for the caboose move may be made to the Mojave Chamber of Commerce or to the Mojave Transportation Museum.

All donations are gratefully received and publicly acknowledged.

Tax-deductible sponsorship levels are:

• $5,000 or more: Locomotive.

• $2,500: Engineer.

• $1,400: Trainmaster.

• $500: Brakeman.

• $100: Gandy Dancer.

Smaller individual donations will be deemed conductors.

For details, contact the Mojave Chamber of Commerce at 661-824-2481.

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