Monday, October 4, 2010

Cole Land Transportation Museum


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.

P1030772Although 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.

fire truck collage 2 And, so did the tractor displays.

tractor collage1

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.

pontiac collageP1030745

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.

The original cost of this car new was about $5,000; one similar to the one shown below sold at auction for $220,000.P1030764 A few more displays from this fascination museum.

work collage1 cole colage 1 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.


Anvilcloud said...

You are certainly seeing a lot of things and amassing much information on this trip.

Montanagirl said...

What great photos of a very interesting museum! There's so much history everywhere in this great country.

Lois Evensen said...

Wow, what a super cool place! I remember a similar milk truck delivering to my neighborhood when I was a child. We used to get to ride with the milk man and he would give us chunks of ice that we enjoyed until they melted on hot days. Just think of that now, allowing a child to ride on a delivery truck, giving the kids ice to eat. Wow, do I hear LAWSUIT! Life was fun back in those times, wasn't it.

Thanks for more great images. :)

Scott said...

That looks like a fun place to visit. Maybe we would have been better off investing in cars instead of stock and bonds, though storing those cars would be expensive. Nice shots and thanks for sharing.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi everyone - thanks for stopping by and for the wonderful comments. Your feedback is always greatly appreciated!

Yes AC we are trying to see as many interesting places as possible and try to get off the beaten path as much as possible.

Mona, we also agree that there is so much to see in the USA without ever leaving the country.

Lois, it is really too bad that kids these days don't know how to have fun that isn't connected to something slectronic. What a loss for them.

Yes, Scott, antique cars might have been a good investment but then there is the up front cost of restoration :-(. Interesting thing about the Cole Museum is that flash is not allowed and the lights are not bright or excessive. We were told that's done to protect the paint on the vehicles - makes sense.

Elaine said...

Both this museum and Moto-Car look fascinating. We are thinking of going through Maine next fall so I will have to add these two to our list. (We seldom miss any musuem that is automotive related.)

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Elaine, you and Marty would really enjoy this museum. It's dedicated to transportation in Maine, but many of the vehicles and exhibits were also used in other areas of the country. The entry fee is a modest $6/$4 for seniors and children to age 18 are no charge.

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