With toots from dozens of tiny train whistles, the Deerfield Beach Historical
Society launched its Operation Restoration, an ambitious effort to raise funds
for restoring both the Butler House and an old caboose that came to town this
week, courtesy of William Thies & Co. With levels of giving identified in
railroad lingo - engineer, conductor, brakeman, etc. - the $179,500 campaign
has opened with the Deerfield Beach Kiwanis Club becoming the first Golden Spike
with a gift of $20,000.
The Operation Restoration budget totals $500,000 and includes $320,500 for the 1923, Butler House on Hillsboro Boulevard, which is in need of major work including roofing, framing and windstorm protection. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Resting now on siding at Deerfield Builder's Supply, the Seaboard Airline caboose will be moved to the railroad station on West Hillsboro Boulevard when 160 feet of track (at $2 a foot) is installed. Most of the restoration work will be done at that site.
Tuesday, in a ceremony welcoming the caboose to Deerfield Beach, Chamber Executive Director Janyce Becker said half of the proceeds from the 50-50 raffles held at chamber functions will be donated to the restoration fund.
Now in a grey, unfinished state, the caboose itself will be used as a donor recognition board with names painted on its sides, Dale Alien, Executive Director of the Historical Society said. Restoring the old railroad car - used originally by train crews for their R&R - involves a number of agencies, he added, including DOT, Tri-Rail, the Seaboard Railroad and the City of Deerfield Beach.