Silverton in San Juan County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Silverton Northern Caboose 1005
Freight trains commonly had a caboose at the end. In 1871, its first year of operation, the Denver and Rio Grande (D&RG) railroad had four cabooses made by Billmeyer & Small. D&RG built 84 more, similar to their design, between 1876 and 1885.
These Class 1 cabooses, numbered 1-88, were small (16-ft body, 9-ft wheel base, and 26-in wheels), called "bobbers" because they had only four wheels. They had a third brake wheel in the cupola and link-and-pin couplers.
D&RG caboose 17 was built in 1880 for $720 as one of a group of twenty-five. In the 1885-86 renumbering, D&RG 17 became D&RG 0516.
The cabooses were remodeled extensively over the years to improve their use; for example, stoves, more grab irons, and more storage were added.
By 1895, D&RG 17 was being leased to Otto Mears' Silverton Railroad (SRR) for 30 cents per day. In October 1895 the SRR bought it for $350, probably for use on the Silverton Northern (SN) that Mears was building. It became SN 17, then SN 1005.
SN 1005 was never upgraded to automatic couplers and airbrakes, although the D&RG cabooses were.
Caboose SN 1005 is the oldest surviving D&RG caboose and the oldest surviving caboose in Colorado.
All wheels and suspension were completely missing. Many historic parts were obtained from the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden. New springs, equalizers, and brake gears were fabricated.
The badly deteriorated frame was reconstructed using white oak with mortise and tenon joints for historical accuracy. Nearly all sheathing was replaced to correct the wrong design of sheathing installed in the 1960s. About half the framing had rotted and was replaced. Windows are new and doors were repaired.
The intact interior walls were repaired. The plywood floor was replaced with 1x6-inch tongue and groove boards. Interior furnishings, removed when used as a shed, were reconstructed using historical information provided by the Colorado Railroad Museum.
1. SN 1005, behind locomotive SN 1 and three D&RG freight cars heading towards Silverton along the Animas River just past the Silver Lake spur into Arrastra Gulch. Note the lamp on top of the caboose
2. February 2013. Main frame being constructed in the SN engine house.
3. January 2014. Extensive replacement of cupola structure.
4. February 2013. Main frame showing the six longitudinal sills with tenons cut into the ends that fit into mortises in the end sill.
5. August 2013. Double frame bolted together with new hardware fabricated in Grand Junction.
6. January 2014. Extensive replacement of badly deteriorated posts, diagonal bracing, and plate (horizontal structural member at top.)
Photos by Fritz Klinke except as noted.
7. August 1957. SN caboose 1005 was in bad shape behind the Western Colorado Power Company office northeast of Silverton.
Restored SN Caboose 1005
The restoration of caboose SN 1005 was completed in May, 2014.
Photo by George Niederauer
Erected by San Juan County Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1895.
Location. 37° 48.908′ N, 107° 39.697′ W. Marker is in Silverton, Colorado, in San Juan County. Marker is at the intersection of Greene Street (County Highway 110) and East 16th Street, on the left when traveling north on Greene Street. The Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1557 Greene Street, Silverton CO 81433, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. S.R.R. Caboose (here, next to this marker); San Juan County Historical Society Museum (a few steps from this marker); County Jail (a few steps from this marker); Silverton, Colorado (within shouting distance of this marker); Court House (within shouting distance of this marker); San Juan County Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1371 Greene (approx. 0.2 miles away); Town Hall (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Silverton.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 18, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 248 times since then and 62 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 18, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.