Winamac Park Board Considers Taking Ownership of Depot, Caboose, Log Cabin

Winamac Park Board: Jon Chapman, Chris Schramm, President Courtney Poor, Vice-President Brad Zellers
Winamac Park Board: Jon Chapman, Chris Schramm, President Courtney Poor, Vice-President Brad Zellers

The Pulaski County Historical Society is offering a few of its properties to the Town of Winamac as potential park facilities. 

Vice-President Ryan Harrison told the Winamac Park Board last week the historical society would be interested in transferring ownership of the freight depot and caboose, as well as the log cabin located behind the Pulaski County Public Library, to the town. “Our thoughts are, we’re not using those facilities to their full potential,” he said. “We’ve had people contact us about renting out the log cabin, and most generally we tell them no because we’re a group of volunteers that, maybe, we don’t know what they need, we can’t provide them with the facilities that they need. And our thoughts are, maybe the park board would be better to manage, say the log cabin. Maybe it would be something if you’re already renting out pavilions, maybe you could rent out the log cabin.”

Similarly, the Iris Elm Garden Club uses the freight depot and the surrounding area, but little else is done with that property. The freight depot dates back to the Civil War era and is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Downtown Winamac. Harrison noted that the land where the depot and caboose sit is already owned by the town, making a transfer of the property easier.

However, the replica log cabin is on county-owned land, meaning the county commissioners would also have to approve the change in ownership. It also raises questions about whether the town would have to take over lawn mowing and other site maintenance that have been handled by the county up until now.

Park board member Brad Zellers was cautious about proceeding with the plan. “I like the idea of the depot and the caboose, doing that,” he said. “I really like that. I’m a little hesitant, I guess, with the cabin, being that it’s not our property and what’s it going to take to get it usable. I mean, that’s going to take some funds, and who knows what that will be.”

The park board agreed to take the proposal under advisement. Harrison said that transferring the properties would allow the historical society to focus on some other projects, like moving the County Museum to the Galbreath House property.