#24. Main Street Caboose and the Lake Erie, Alliance, and Wheeling Railroad
If you’ve visited Downtown Alliance, you may have wondered, “Why is there a caboose in the parking lot?”
The caboose is a reminder of days gone by when the Lake Erie, Alliance, and Wheeling Railroad passed through downtown Alliance. The track line is now part of the Stark Parks connector trail which goes from the University of Mount Union, past Rodman Public Library and the Alliance Area Chamber of Commerce, and then along Park Avenue to the Mabel Hartzell Historical Home and on to Earley’s Hill Park.
The donation and renovation of the caboose were a joint effort of Alliance Main Street, Inc. and the Stark County Railroad Society to honor Alliance’s railroad past. The idea was suggested by Rev. Roger Skelley-Watts in 1988. Later that year, Mayor Francis Carr was informed by Norfolk and Southern Railroad that a caboose was on its way to the city. The caboose sat idle on an Alliance Machine Co. siding for several years awaiting renovation.
When the Stark County Railroad Society was formed, it offered to undertake the renovation of the caboose. Approximately $3,000 was raised through the sale of railroad bonds, an idea spearheaded by Karl Fiegenschuh, a downtown merchant, to help with the cost of the renovation.
The caboose was moved to the municipal parking lot at E. Market Street and S. Mechanic Avenue and dedicated in a formal ceremony on April 25, 1993.
In recent years, a stage was added to the east side of the caboose. The stage has been used for performances by local bands during the Alliance Farmer’s Market and the Summertime Friday Night Concert series.