In 1969, Willis and nine other members established the Raymond Historical Society. Her grandson, Scott Knightly, and his company EnviroVantage, donated the restoration work to be done to the historic railcar in his grandmother’s honor.
Restoration efforts on the caboose, named “Old Rusty” in recent years, began in September 2020 with the set-up of scaffolding to aid in encapsulating the caboose with a plastic tent before sand blasting the entire structure. These precautions were an important part of the safety regulations taken because the aging paint contained lead and needed to be handled and properly disposed of by EnviroVantage’s technicians.
After the paint was removed, the 16 windows in the caboose were taken to be reframed and repaired, and a rust inhibitor and final coats of paint were applied. As the windows took shape in the EnviroVantage shop, the caboose’s roof surface was coated with Herculine truck bed compound, donated by Lowes in Epping. The final coats of paint, as well as the logo, were created and applied by Highball Graphics of West Ossipee before Thanksgiving 2020.
The new blue caboose now greets visitors in the Raymond Historical Society yard next to three other railcars: a 1932 Whitcomb engine, a 1953 refrigerator box car, and a 1944 push car.
The B&M Railroad N-5 Series of caboose were common on rural branch lines where they served as a mobile office and quarters for the conductor and brakemen. In the late 1960s, the N-5s received the famous scheme of blue sides with red ends, black roof, white trim, and a large B&M logo on either side.
A bronze plaque affixed to the caboose near the entrance stair reads, “1932 B&M Caboose. Restored 2020. Dedicated to the memory of A. Willis Goddard, a founding member of the Raymond Historical Society. Work was completed through the efforts of her grandson, Scott Knightly, owner of EnviroVantage, in loving memory of his Grandmother.”