Winford Park Dedicated Saturday
The park that sits on West Center across from C.V.’s was dedicated Saturday. The mini park has sidewalks, benches, beautiful landscaping and an old Missouri Pacific Caboose.
The caboose was brought to Greenwood in the mid 90’s and was placed near the old railroad bed where trains used to roll through the city carrying coal out of Greenwood and the surrounding areas.
The Greenwood caboose was brought to the city in 1993. Dr. James Burgess was on the Sebastian County Parks Commission at that time. “The caboose was located in Ben Geren,” said Burgess. “They were having trouble with people vandalizing it so Sebastian County Judge David Hudson asked if we were interested in it. And I told him,’I think we might’.
Burgess stated that he contacted local businessman Foy Brown to help relocate the caboose to a piece of land owned by Gene and Jan Winford. The caboose was painted green, all of the windows were welded shut and a sign stating that “Greenwood is not just a whistle stop” was placed in front of it. The railroad company Burlington Northern was painted on the side of the train car.
In 2014 the city purchased the property from the Gene and Jan Winford on the condition that it would remain a park. The purchase was made using a $10,000 grant through the Western Arkansas Planning & Development District. Senator Jake Files and Representative Charlotte Douglas were instrumental in the WAPDD grant.
Since the purchase the Greenwood Parks Department has added landscaping, replaced the windows and painted the caboose red. The glass for the windows was donated by Arkansas Glass and Mirror. Cleave Gipson removed all of the doors and windows and installed the windows and doors for the city free of charge.
According to the informational sign, designed by Joel Goldstein, the railroads carried cotton, peaches, coal and passengers to and from the city. There was a time when Greenwood shipped as many as 150,000 tons of coal, fifty-six cars of peaches and 5,000 bales of cotton each year. The caboose was originally built for the Northern Pacific railroad but is similar to those used by the Missouri Pacific on the line into Greenwood. The caboose has been restored to resemble the familiar “MoPac” cabooses that passed over the trestle on Heartsill Creek directly behind Winford Park.
Eagle Scout Candidate Mark Thiele did part of his project on the park adding the sidewalks, an informational sign, a large rock sign bearing the park’s name and a flag pole.
Dr. Burgess, Thiele, Greenwood Mayor Doug Kinslow, Goldstein and the Winfords were on hand for the dedication along with city employees and many others. The park was dedicated to Gene and Jan Winford.