Cole Land Transportation Museum
Every once in a while, as you’re driving along the Interstate something along the side of the road catches your eye, and you decide to go investigate. That’s exactly what happened as I was driving through Bangor, Maine, headed to the Bay of Fundy. There, on the right side, a Huey helicopter and a tank caught my eye – but no signs of any sort. I just had to investigate…
The helicopter and tank turned out to be associated with the Cole Land Transportation Museum. The Museum is the creation of Galen Cole, owner of Coles Express, the largest trucking company in New England (bought out by Roadway Services in 1992). The Museum is dedicated to the fortitude and ingenuity of Maine’s citizens who were determined to keep Maine’s roads open year around, even through Maine’s severe winters. The museum houses hundreds of outstanding and unique pieces of equipment – old and modern – from trains to semi-trailer trucks, snowplows, and so on. Many are fully functional.
The Museum serves a second purpose: To honor those brave citizens of Maine who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. That is why it displays the helicopter and tank, among other items. One of these other items is a half track vehicle, which is identical to one that Galen Cole was riding when it was hit by a German 75 mm anti-tank gun; all squad member in the vehicle were wounded or killed. Galen Cole was one of the survivors.
A most special item is the collection of Purple Heart medals in a glass case visible on the wall at the rear of the half-track; a photograph of it is also included in the collection below.
Selected photographs follow; perhaps you, too, will stop by the Museum one day.