Brooks Historical Society

Current Projects

Brooks Historical Society

Current Projects

Now Open during the season with New Exhibits!

Major Remodeling of the Freight Room of the Brooks Depot Museum

Taking advantage of the lull created by COVID-19, we began a major remodeling of the Freight Room to include a timeline, a history center, and a limited number of exhibits focused on the local area. This also was a good time to look at our inventory of donated and loaned items.

New airtight and water-resistant flooring was installed, and then the exhibits installed in a new configuration. Though there will be a limited number of exhibits, there is a plan to rotate some of them yearly, through a list of 20 or more possible exhibits that were brainstormed by the committee.

See current photos on our Facebook page at Brooks-Historical Society.

Working on clearing the exhibits January 2022

A blank slate!  The same corner with Empty walls and floors February 2022


The Caboose Project

Part of our plan is to move the office and storage spaces to the caboose. Work on the caboose has been slow and hampered the extent of repairs necessary and by COVID-19. The floor has been repaired, and two sides, with new windows installed.  We are now considering bids to finish the work, and make the space available, so we can use the storage and office space, and finalize the Depot Building re-configuration without an office or storage.

 Here is our Joyful Welcome to Waycar (Caboose) # 14411!



 Brooks Historical Society Members greeted their 1910 CBQ waycar (caboose) as it was settled into place on specially prepared tracks east of the Brooks Depot Museum at Powerland Heritage Park on October 17, 2017. The waycar is planned to serve as a society meeting room, office and storage room.  This will clear room in the historic depot for future renovations to bring the depot back to more nearly to as it was when it was a working train depot.

Thanks to BHS member Paul Duchateau, arrangements were made to bring the waycar on two flatbed trailers to Powerland Heritage Park. Then a large crane lifted it into place in three pieces; two wooden “trucks” or wheel assemblies, and then the body of the car. CBQ is visible on the car in several places. Careful sanding on the car revealed the number 14411.

Steve Rippeteau, a rail fan and new member of BHS, pursued leads to find that the waycar began its working life for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (CBQ) Railroad in the Midwest. The book, The Burlington Waycars, by Randall R. Danniel and  Marian L. Reis with Joseph Douda, shows that  waycar #14411 was built by the CB&Q in June, 1910 at their Aurora, Illinois shops as a NE-6 Class. When CB & Q merged with Burlington Northern, in 1970, the car was brought west. That same book shows that in June, 1975, waycar #14411 was sold to the Oregon, Pacific & Eastern railway (OP&E). 

OP&E, a now defunct logging and excursion railroad out of Cottage Grove, Oregon did not keep it long. About 40 years ago (1977, approximately) it was sold again to private owners south and west of Eugene, Oregon. There it and an old {S&P} (Southern Pacific/Oregon & California) caboose were used as lodging for workers on the property.

At their January 2018 meeting, Brooks Historical Society voted to restore the exterior so that it was functional and looked good, but not the most historically accurate and thus expensive repair. They authorized Paul Duchateau to research materials, methods, and expenses and get back to the Society with information. The interior is mostly empty, but needs some modifications to be functional as storage, an office and meeting room.  After a plan is adopted, we will begin repairs. If you would like to help with the restoration and repairs, email Paul Duchateau at If you would like to donate to the project, contact our Treasurer, Dorene Standish,

You can find more information about CBQ, OP&E and a CBQ waycar in the Medford Railroad Park similar to our own by clicking on these links.

Annual BHS Used Book Sale

Again, this year we will offer our used book sale, starting with June events. We will renew and replenish our supplies as we can so for each event there is a sale, there will be new and exciting used books to choose from at bargain prices. For certain we will have the book sale during the Fourth of July Celebration, and during both weekends of Steam-Up.

Book Sale



Video Recordings of Elders in the FrenchPrairie Area


Brooks Historical Society members are preserving oral histories of elders in the area. Their experiences range from farming, life in the armed forces, life in an internment camp during World War II, to inventions and innovations and their effect on lives and families. The members of the interviewing and recording crew started as amateurs, but are improving steadily. We would love to have an experienced video editor to help us with our project. Contact us if you are interested.  We show selected videos in our museum to complement our other exhibits. We also offer the videos for sale to the public.  See our Publications for Sale page.