Carl Francis "Doc" Howard, the last of the "fathers" of South Carolina's Cockabooses, died on Monday. Howard and Ed Robinson, who died in 1998, came up with the idea of transforming old cabooses into the most unique of tailgating units back in 1990.
The men acquired 22 cabooses and the ugly vacant tracks behind the south side of Williams-Brice Stadium. Each of the cabooses were 45 feet long and 10 feet wide. In two days, Howard and Robinson sold 20 of the cabooses for $45,000 each.
The Cockabooses look identical from the outside, but it's the interiors that make them one of the nation's unique monuments to tailgating. Some resemble a Victorian palace, others have an "Orient Express" theme. Most of the owners have spent in excess of $100,000 customizing the units, which have central heat and air, water and sewage, electrical wiring, telephones and satellite TV.
It's rare when one of the Cocabooses goes on the market, but one did in 2006 with an asking price of $300,000.