Back on track
‘5 Spot’ lifted onto new rails at Pioneer Park
By Eileen Persike
Just in time for the summer opening of the Pioneer Park Historical Complex, a large and popular feature was set atop a new foundation.
Engine 5, otherwise known as ‘5 Spot,’ has sat in front of the Railroad Museum Depot building inside the PPHC since 1973. Over the years, the narrow gauge steam engine and its foundation had begun to sink. Last fall a fundraising effort began to pay for the work necessary to get the train back on solid ground.
Early in May a new reinforced concrete foundation was poured and the rails were set last week. This past Thursday a crane service lifted the engine onto its new rails and the remaining train cars into place behind it.
This is the first phase of the 5 Spot Foundation project.
“This project was completely paid for and funded by community support and private donations,” said PPHC director Kerry Bloedorn. “We had conations come in from all over the country; people who care about Rhinelander, care about Rhinelander’s history, wanted to see this very historic iconic engine situated for the future.”
The second phase of the project will involve fundraising to build a shelter
The PPHC opened Saturday, May 29. In addition to the train, the complex consists of a logging museum, Hodag exhibit, a sawmill museum, a rural one-room schoolhouse museum, a civilian conservation corps museum, the Rhinelander fire equipment museum and Belles of St Mary’s exhibit, Duke’s Outboard Motor and Boat museum, the Rhinelander Railroad Museum with model rail exhibit, as well as many outdoor exhibits and historic pieces of equipment on display.
Admission to the complex is free; donations are appreciated. Summer hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday.