By T.L. Applin
Residents recently witnessed a bit of a spectacle in the Village of Wayland. On August 30th, the “Gunlocke Caboose” was moved to its new home at the Wayland Historical Society.
Howard Gunlocke of the Gunlocke Chair Factory purchased the caboose from the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western railroad company in the early 1970s. Initially, the caboose sat on the siding near the factory. Mr. Gunlocke began having it remodeled into a personal office where he could spend some quiet time. Shortly thereafter, the caboose was moved to his home property on West Naples Street in the village. There Mr. Phillip Donovan, a Gunlocke employee, finished the inside remodeling of the caboose which was then named “Gunlodge 2”.
This summer, Bruce Brown, a member of the Board of Directors of the Wayland Historical Society, began discussion with the present owners (the Baird family of Walter E. Baird & Sons Funeral Home) to see if they would consider donating the caboose to the WHS. With Wayland’s past as a sizable railroading town and the Gunlocke caboose being a DL&W car, it seemed fitting that the caboose should sit at the Historical Society location. An agreement was reached and Mr. Brown agreed to act as the project coordinator.
Preparations began immediately, with LMC Industrial Contractors (Mr. Lawrence Mehlenbacher) of Dansville donating and delivering rail road ties, rails, plates, and rail road spikes. A crew of WHS board members and Michael Landino Excavating installed the new rail bed and tracks, and within a couple of weeks the new site was ready. Board member Martin Kimmel checked into getting the necessary permits and transportation routes so the move would be as smooth as possible.
Early on August 30th, the caboose was gently lifted off its wheels by the Wilcox Crane Company of Canandaigua and loaded on to a flatbed truck provided by LMC. The crane operator then set the caboose wheels onto a separate truck for the trip. The Village of Wayland Police and the Village Department of Streets and Water provided traffic control, and the move began. A special thank you goes to The Mane Attraction for allowing the trucks to cross their parking lot for an easier and safer turn onto a connecting street.
A crowd eagerly watched as the caboose arrived at the WHS site and the two crews prepared for the second lift. The caboose’s wheels went onto the new tracks first. The rigging was put in place, the crane operator gently lifted, and finally, the caboose was free from the truck bed. With a little more lift and a gentle swing, the crane operator began lowering the caboose onto its wheels. As the pins went into place and the crew motioned that the caboose was down, applause, cheers, and shouts echoed through the neighborhood. The Gunlocke caboose was at its new home.
What an outstanding display of effort, expertise, skill, and professionalism on the part of the crews of the LMC Industrial Contractors and the Wilcox Crane Company. Bruce Brown commented, “What a job well done. This whole move went without a glitch!!” And indeed it did! The Wayland Historical Society will always be grateful for the professionalism and generosity of all involved.
It was close to noon and the crews and onlookers left the site. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I looked over at the caboose. Quite a project, to say the very least. The caboose has a new and permanent home. It seemed content. The Wayland Historical Society Board of Directors offers a sincere thank you to all.