Wisconsin's Door County is known as a rustic summertime retreat for residents of the dairy state and of neighboring Illinois. Serene, wooded lots with cozy cabins offer a tonic for those fleeing the hustle and bustle of urban life.
This 1.5-acre wooded lot has something a bit different from a cabin, however. Its main residence is a refurbished red train caboose, with additional bedrooms in an adjoining building constructed to resemble an old-time railway station. The property can be yours for $165,000.
"There's a lot of railroad memorabilia that is in both these buildings. For an enthusiast who likes this kind of thing, it's really quite unique and fascinating," says listing agent Bob Starr. The father of one of the owners was a lifelong railroad worker, nurturing his son's love of all things railroad-related, Starr explains. "It's in his blood, so to speak."
The owners bought the caboose from a local restaurant, which had let it deteriorate, and had it moved to its current site between Sturgeon Bay and Egg Harbor. The caboose had to be lifted from a flatbed trailer by crane and set on a section of track the owners added to the property, Starr explains. "When you drive into the property, you can't fathom how they did it," he marvels.
Inside, with its 192 square feet of living space, the caboose would look familiar to anyone who has seen a tiny home. It features bunk beds, bench seating, a bathroom, and even two easy chairs elevated above the main living space in the caboose's cupola. The chairs are original, vestiges of the days when conductors and other train personnel would sit in the caboose and keep an eye on how the train was functioning out of the cupola windows, Starr explains.
The station house has a screened porch and a second-level deck. It houses additional bedrooms but has no plumbing, Starr says. The caboose provides the bathroom and running water, which comes from a well on the property.
The home is ideal for vacation getaways, with an outdoor fire pit and a picnic clearing surrounded by mature trees, Starr says. And once a new owner stands on the platform outside the caboose's door, it will be difficult for him or her to resist the urge to shout "all aboard!"