COUDERSPORT — Thomas A. Majot, of Austin, gifted the Coudersport-Port Allegany Caboose to the Potter County Historical Society earlier this month.
The caboose, appraised at $11,800, has been the center of an ownership battle for the past couple of months. The Coudersport borough council voted it had ownership, as it sits at the arboretum — borough property — but Majot maintained that he is the owner, as the Coudersport Chamber of Commerce sold it to him years prior.
Majot filed a lawsuit against the borough and its council, suing them for $25,000 and requesting the council name him the sole owner of the caboose. Majot’s attorney, Mike Plummer, told the Potter Leader-Enterprise the complaint was withdrawn on Sept. 6.
In a press release, the Potter County Historical Society said a joint effort between Majot, his attorney, Mike Plummer, the borough and its solicitor, Dan Glassmire, the society now has the “sole rights to this valuable portion of our county’s history.”
The borough allowed the historical society to photograph the caboose for an evaluation done by Dr. Seth Bramson, an expert on historic railroad memorabilia.
Majot gifted the caboose to the society because he thought the organization would take care of it.
“I feel they are the only ones who are responsible enough to handle it,” Majot told the Potter Leader-Enterprise.
“The only reason I did it, I don’t think the borough should have anything to do with it and I don’t think the arboretum people are responsible enough to care for it,” Majot said. “Hopefully (the historical society will) take good care of it.”
Plummer said Majot knows the importance of the caboose, as it’s the only remaining part of the Coudersport-Port Allegany Railroad left.
“Tom knows that the caboose is important to the community and he knows it needs a lot of repairs that will cost a good bit of money,” Plummer said. “He thought the historical society had the will to take care of it and make the repairs.”
The historical society is working to winterize the caboose to keep its structural integrity.
“Museum staff members, Michael Greene and Charles Nelson with the advisory assistance of Mr. Gary Buchsen, are moving forward as a restoration team to repair and permanently preserve this treasure for public display and access,” the press release stated.