Marcia Weber lives full-time in a Soo Line train caboose that was built in 1909. She purchased the caboose with her husband at the Tunerville Station in Whippany, New Jersey in 1975 from an ad in the Wall Street Journal that simply said “wooden cabooses for sale.”
For years, the caboose was just a vacation home for Marcia and her husband. After a divorce and a job loss, she decided to move permanently into the caboose. She said the first winter was tough with no indoor plumbing and only space heaters available for heat. Electricity had been installed in the caboose years before, but there was no bathroom. In the following years, Marcia was able to add a bathroom to the back of the caboose (to retain the look), indoor plumbing and electric heat. She also replaced the siding on the cupola and put in some gardens and a lawn. She also had a deck built which added an additional “room” to the caboose.
The caboose sits on a 30 foot train track on Marcia’s 5 acre parcel in Northeast Pennsylvania. Her 337 square foot living space also includes a washer/dryer, refrigerator, stove, microwave and a dishwasher. The cost of the caboose and the track cost about $6,000 (in 1976).
Marcia calls the caboose “a 36-year labor of love”, and is proud that nearly everything on the inside is still in its original 1909 state. She did replace out the floor with a laminate. She will also be replacing the siding on the outside with beadboard to resemble the original wood.
She loves the light that comes in through the windows (including the six in the cupola) and has decorated the caboose with colorful accessories. She thought that going from a 2,500 square foot house to a 337 square foot caboose would be difficult, but she absolutely loves it.
“I sold 95 percent of my belongings and feel very free as a result,” Marcia said. “Plus, I can clean the whole place in fifteen minutes. The area here is absolutely beautiful and I spend a lot of time sitting on the deck reading and just looking at my surroundings. It’s all mountains, ponds, and open space.”
Photos courtesy of Marcia Weber