The Red Caboose Page
led. Genealogists and descendants would kill for a hundred or a
thousand words that would tell them who the individual really was, his
or her experiences, work, religion, hopes, fears, and dreams. These are
the historical words that “The Red Caboose, A Collection of
Memories” sought to gather and report. The citizens of Altoona, both
current and from the past, were given an opportunity to provide them.
Incidentally, the title is a take-off on the name of Marian Potter’s
children’s book, “The Little Red Caboose.” “The Red Caboose” is an
off-beat title that ties together Altoona’s very distant railroading past
with the light-hearted fun of writing, recording, and reading Altoona’s
memories – the purpose of the venture.
Other efforts have been made to record Altoona’s history. Gerald A.
Hagen’s fine book, “A History of Altoona
,” (1989) remains a definitive
source of such information. Altoonians have already contributed
personal memories to “The Old Altoona Public School, A Collection of
Memories,” (Thurston, 2008), a book containing the recollections of
students who attended that school prior to its destruction by fire in 1951.
A booklet, “Jesse Jensen, Principal, Coach, and Teacher, Altoona
(WI) Public School, 1921-1943,” (Hoyt and Thurston, 2008)
concentrated on the life of the man who was of vital importance to that
school system for a very long time.
The small community of Altoona, Wisconsin was once again targeted. A
call went out for the memories of its residents (See “The Red Caboose:
Collecting Altoona’s Memories” in the Appendix). Every effort was
made to contact all residents of all ages. Current significant memories
were considered every bit as important as those based on events of long
ago. All of these remembrances warranted recording, recognition, and
sharing. Such was our belief as we embarked on this venture.
As in the case of the two previous volumes, “The Red Caboose, A
Collection of Memories” assumed that each of the contributors is both
unique and important. The late E. Lynn Harris, in his memoir “What