By Brandi Makuski
Train-lovers and local history buffs will be in good company on September 19.
The Friends of 2713 will be holding an open house from 10 AM- 4 PM on the site of the decommissioned locomotive, which is permanently parked on the city’s south side. John Kedrowski from the group said the open house is held to promote historical awareness of the city’s steam engine past and to raise funds for maintenance of the monument.
“We do this every three or four years,” Kedrowski said. “It’s something we do to bring the public in, to get people involved and excited about the train.”
Kedrowski said the open house will showcase a blacksmith, a Rumely Steam tractor, miniature train rides for the kids and a model train layout. The Portage County Historical Society and Project Life Saver will also have booths at the event.
Kedrokwsi also said antique gas engines and an early motor car will also be on-site.
“This is also our 20th year working on the train,” Kedrowski said, referring to the Friends of 2713 and their ongoing maintenance of the two steam cars. “We’re 99 percent done, and we hope to be completely done by the open house. The train doesn’t maintain itself, so you can imagine, working on something for 20 years, it means a lot to the group and the community.”
The train’s caboose will also be opened up for the public, he said. Admission to the event is free but donations will be accepted.
The Friends of 2713 is a nonprofit group born in 1995 designed to preserve the railroad history of the Stevens Point area. The group’s main focus is preserving locomotive 2713 and the Soo Line caboose number 158, both of which are on display at the southeast corner of Monroe and Business 51.
For more information on the Friends of 2713 go to www.soo2713.org.