The Cole Land Transportation Museum in Bangor, Maine is dedicated to preserving and displaying Maine's land transportation equipment. It holds more than 200 vehicles, ranging from wagons to transport trucks and locomotives. The collection includes military equipment and vehicles and over 2000 photographs related to local history.
Although it’s only open from May 1 through November 11 (Veterans Day),the museum hosts over 20,000 visitors annually. Children 18 and under are admitted without charge so a visit here won’t strain a family budget. Galen Cole, the museum’s founder, is a WW II veteran who survived a German tank gun attack as a 19-year old combat infantryman. A large U.S. flag hangs from the ceiling at the entrance. Speakers throughout the museum play patriotic-related music. This sign is displayed by the front door.
The only meaningful legacy we will leave this world will be the difference we made in others, especially in the life of a child.
Cole built the museum in 1989 after 50 years of working and running Coles Express Inc., a New England-based motor transportation and trucking service, founded by his father, Allie Cole. Galen became company president after his father’s death.
Inside the building, vehicles on display illustrate the evolution of land transportation from wagons to 18-wheelers and include antique vehicles, motorcycles, a locomotive, fire trucks, farm equipment, and many other land transportation vehicles. Large display cards provide a short history of the vehicle and who donated it. Nearly all the vehicles are operational.
Grenville is a retired firefighter so the fire truck displays held special interest for him.
Thing today’s auto prices are outrageous, check out the cost of this model that Cole bought in the early 1940s for under $1,000 – NEW.
There’s also the Reo Royale car driven by his father, Allie Cole. Curiosity about this manufacturer led to some on-line research. The REO was a mid-range car, a cut above Ford or Chevrolet, but not equal to a Cord, Packard, or Cadillac. REO (named for its founder, Ransom Eli Olds) automobiles debuted in 1904, with the first shipped to customers in January 1905. The car was known for quality workmanship, durability, power, and innovation. REO's luxury model, the Royale, debuted in 1931, billed as one of the most beautiful motor cars ever produced.
On the grounds, the museum also has an 1840s era covered bridge, the State of Maine WWII Veterans Memorial, Maine Military Order of the Purple Heart Memorial, Maine Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Maine Vietnam Veterans Memorial. If you ever travel through the Bangor Maine area, this museum is off I-95, Exit 182A.