Most recently used as a storage shed for an Itasca family, a rundown 36-foot, 40,000-pound Milwaukee Road caboose is getting a makeover before becoming the showpiece of Itasca's renovated Depot History Museum.
Painter Norm McCullough is working to restore the relic to its original bright orange color after rain scuttled his efforts late last week.
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The caboose is expected to be fully restored prior to the scheduled grand opening celebration from noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 28 for the 140-year-old museum at 101 N. Catalpa.
Itasca Parks Superintendent of Recreation Joe McCann said officials still haven't decided what exhibit will be on display for the grand opening, but they've already lined up a face-painting artist, a cotton-candy machine and musical entertainment.
Aside from a paint job, the caboose will get a new floor and windows before it is filled with railroad memorabilia, complementing the adjacent Historical Depot Museum that has been undergoing a restoration of its own for the past year and a half.
The museum's $525,000 renovation project, to restore the building to how it looked when it opened in 1873, includes installation of a historic ticket window and potbelly stove. In addition to exhibits on railroad history, the museum will feature displays on Itasca history.