The Red Caboose Gift Shop
Red Caboose Gift Shop 1975
The Red Caboose Gift Shop was created in 1975 when Virgil Coonrod donated his Rock Island caboose to be used as a gift shop. The caboose was set west of the Hillsboro depot. Not much is known about the history of this caboose. It is believed to be caboose 1773, however we have not been able to confirm this. The caboose served as the gift shop until around 1990 when it was moved to south of the shop for restoration as the wood was severely deteriorated. After an unfortunate incident involving the power line for the trolley line, the caboose was scraped shortly thereafter. The gift shop was then moved into the freight room of the Hillsboro Depot.
1773 in service on the Rock Island Lines
Shortly after the Red Caboose Gift Shop was up and running, there was a second gift shop created in the south station. This gift shop was called The Whistle Stop Shop. It was a temporary setup used during the reunion. After the reunion it would be completely cleaned out and the show cases and shelves moved to allow access to the storage track that ran through the middle of the shop.
In 2005 after the completion of the new South Station/Events Center, a permanent gift shop was built in the building. In 2019 it was further expanded into today’s current shop and the shop in the Hillsboro Depot was permanently closed.