The State of Maine is a very rough (read pretty and natural) state. The edge of Maine’s coastline is dotted with thousands and thousands of inlets that resonate with the booming of waves. The rest of the state has flat plains, forests that would send lumberjacks running for the napalm, and mountains high enough to give an astronaut vertigo. The people who take their goods over the mountains of this pristine state always seem to have the toughest vehicles ever. The Cole Land Transportation Museum tells the whole story of it.
The Cole Museum is a logical and remarkably correct collection of Maine (street) transportation throughout the year. The descendants of trucker Allie Cole started the museum in 1990, to show visitors to Maine what the Maine way of travel is actually like.
The Cole family is a founding family in terms of Maine’s commercial trucking. For something that was close to 90 years, Cole’s Express trucks were fixtures on Maine and New England’s highways. Cole’s Express hauled everything from paper, potatoes, and various other items that start with a “p.” From 1917 to 1992, Cole’s Express hauled heavy loads way out in Maine.
If you’ve ever visited Maine and wondered “What would I need to get around all of Maine at any given time of the year?,” the Cole Museum offers it all. If a snowplow pops into your mind, the Cole Museum has it. Obviously, snow plays an important part in Maine’s ecosystem… Several snowplows are in the exhibits, including a massive early Linn tracked truck that required a crew of four strong men. Two of those burly men stood at the back to lever the massive plow wings into position.
Out in the sticks of Maine, roads being plowed really wasn’t much of a guarantee, so most of Maine’s residents are big of DIY’s. Maybe that’s why there’s a brood of cool old snowmobiles; necessities back out in Maine before they became toys in California. . .
Allie’s son, Galen Cole, came up with the brilliant idea for the museum. Galen was president and chairman of Cole’s Express from 1955 (when Allie passed away) to 1992, when the business was bought by Roadway.
Galen told Hemmings Motor News “We opened the museum in 1990, and now have more than 200 vehicles. When we were ready to break ground, I asked all the newspapers in the state to ask if any of their readers had vehicles that they wanted to contribute to the collection. One of the proudest things in my life is that 77 of our vehicles were donated to us before we ever broke ground. Our collection is unique in that, besides cars and motorcycles, it documents the commercial vehicle from horse-drawn wagons all the way through the 18-wheeler.”
Then, there are the amazing military vehicles that the Cole family proudly salutes that are included in the displays. Outside, there are is a memorial honoring all 339 Maine KIA-MIA troopers who fought in the Vietnam War. Then, there are two more memorials to the Vietnam War: one is a Huey helicopter, and the other one is a M60 tank. Then, there is a bronze statue of the museum’s Willys JEEP, and a Purple Heart memorial.
From May 1 through November 11 2012, the Cole Land Transportation Museum is open from 9-5 EST, seven days a week. Their address is: 405 Perry Road, Bangor ME, 04401. You can call them at: (207) 990-3600. Their fax number is (207) 990-2653. The website is colemuseum.org Admission is $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors 62 and over, AAA admission is $6.00, and anybody 19 and younger is free!
I think I’d better save up for my plane ticket…