Trolley car triggers memories
Preservation continues to be goal
By Angie Landsverk
At a dining room table in a Weyauwega home, memories of Amanda Husberg’s childhood reappeared.
She pictured the small home where she lived with her family, the farmland across the street and her walks to St. Peter’s Lutheran School.
“I remember this town well,” Husberg said.
The last time she was in Weyauwega was 18 years ago, when her mother, Amanda (Pask) Husberg passed away.
At that time, Husberg found her former childhood home, with all its add-ons.
On Sept. 18, she returned to see it. This time, it was covered with tarps.
The home Husberg and her family lived in for a short time in the 1940s was a former Chicago electric streetcar.
On June 2, the current owners of the property, Bill and Sharon Krapil, watched as the walls of the brown shack in their backyard were removed.
The couple, who bought the home at 300 W. South St. in April 2014, wanted more space in their backyard.
They hired a construction crew to dismantle the shack.
They had heard there was something behind the shack’s walls. When the crew tore off the first piece, they saw “1137,” the trolley’s number.
The discovery and resulting media coverage brought the story all the way to the home of Husberg, who lives in Brooklyn, New York.
On the evening of June 6, she was watching New York’s local ABC newscast. The final story was about the trolley.
The video showed what it looked like before the streetcar was revealed.
Husberg recognized the brown siding of the former shack, because her late father Robert had built the walls around the trolley.
Her family, which included siblings Bob and William, lived in the trolley car in Weyauwega for several years.
Husberg believes they lived in it from 1946 to 1948.
There was a double bed on one side for her parents, a bunk bed for her and her brother Bob and then a crib for her brother William when he was born in 1947.
There were also a cardboard wardrobe and upright piano in it for Husberg, who began taking piano lessons at age 5.
Husberg’s parents sold the trolley car in 1948, when they moved to Chicago.
After the Krapil’s discovered there was a 110-year-old streetcar in their backyard, they had it covered with tarps to protect it.
Sharon attended the Weyauwega Common Council meeting in June and expressed her interest in seeing it saved and restored.
She also talked to Mayor Jack Spierings about it.
Neither the city or local historical society wants to take on the project because of the cost of moving and restoring the trolley.
“I’d hate to see it torn down,” Sharon said.
She said several people were interested in it but again found the cost prohibitive.
The couple said if someone wants to move and preserve it, they will give the trolley to them for free.
Husberg arranged to visit the Krapils on her way from New York to visit family in the Plover area.
“I would like to see it restored someplace,” Husberg said.
Sharon said it is part of the community’s history and should not be destroyed.
“It’s been in Weyauwega close to 70 years,” she said. “I’d like it to be a historic marker.”
Sharon said a preservation project would qualify for grants.
She needs help with such a task, and Husberg said someone who is computer savy could start a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for it.
The construction crew the Krapils hired to dismantle the shack may now be interested in it.
“I don’t know when all this is going to happen. I’m hoping it is out of here before the end of September, beginning of October,” Sharon said. “We’re hoping someone will save it. I just tried everything I could think of.”
Her latest idea includes involving the technology education students at Weyauwega-Fremont High School in the restoration of it as part of a class.
“It’s part of our history. It shouldn’t be destroyed,” she said.
Before Husberg left Weyauwega, she walked onto the Krapil’s deck and took what may have been her last look at one of her childhood memories.