Merci Train - Iowa
It has been reported that The State Museum in Des Moines has a collection of more than 100 of its gifts.
In September of 2010, Mr. & Mrs. Bennett visited the Iowa boxcar at Antique Acres near Cedar Falls, were very warmly greeted (even though it was a very rainy day) by Mr. "Junior" Grimm and his wife, and were given a personally guided tour of the interior of the mini museum that he has established inside the boxcar. During his 30 year tenure as caretaker of the boxcar, "Junior" has tracked down, and obtained from the then current owners, at least two dozen of the Merci gifts that arrived aboard the Iowa boxcar from France (in 1949). He now has them on display for visitors who have made previous arrangements with him to meet them at the current location of the boxcar. I wish that I had been able to get better quality photos, but the items are all in glass cases or, as in the case of paintings, mounted in frames and protected by glass. We would welcome copies of better quality pictures from anyone able to obtain same, which we would of course use to replace my photos and credit the sender for submitting.
Some of the gifts have notes from the French donors of the gifts, expressing their "Thank you" to "The generous Americans" who helped them in their time of need (through the medium of the Friendship train).
All photos by Earl Bennett
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