Frisco City caboose

This caboose in Frisco City is a remnant of the days when railways were important to many Alabama towns.

Tuesday, July 29, 3:11 p.m. – FRISCO CITY – Folks here like trains.

Alabama 21, a main north-south artery through Monroe County, takes visitors down Bowden Street – that’s what Alabama 21 is called in Frisco City. About halfway through the place is a bright red caboose still sitting on a small set of railroad tracks.

It’s not a fake caboose or an unused caboose. It’s old, been here for decades upon decades, and bears the scars of use and weather. On its sides are advertisements for the old St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Co., known as "the Frisco," which virtually built this place back in the day. “Ship it on the Frisco!” one says. “Southeast ... Southwest.” “Radio equipped” – with a lightning bolt underneath.

Frisco City dates to 1888 when the Rev. James Jones and his wife moved here. This part of the state was built around timber and sawmills, and Jones had one of those facilities. Originally, this small Alabama settlement was called Jones Mill and featured an assortment of sawmills, gristmills and cotton gins.

In 1928, community leaders changed the name from Jones Mill to Frisco City to honor that railroad company’s importance to the local history. Trains were important to many Alabama towns – even in Calhoun County – but not all of them have their own caboose on display.

— Phillip Tutor