What must be the heaviest piece of Maplewoodiana in existence is being exhibited at an area museum. Would you have any idea what that might be? It might help if you knew that the museum is the very popular and fascinating National Museum of Transportation on Barrett Station Road. Recently I got an email from Mary Kennedy who works there asking me for permission to use some of our historic photos on their social media.
They have had an item in their collection since 1961 that was probably seen by many people who were in Maplewood between 1925 and 1961. The item I’m talking about is the 1925 Autocar truck from the Maplewood Mill. The truck replaced the mule team that had been used to haul lumber from the railroad up to the mill.
Alan Blood, grandson of Albert Carl Blood (the founder of the mill) generously allowed us to copy his historic photographs for an early historical society display. Outside of the library, his were some of the first historic photographs of Maplewood that I remember finding. There were many interesting photos in his collection but one in particular stood out to me. It was of the Autocar truck.
Alan told me how it had been donated to the National Museum of Transportation. He said that they used to drive the truck down Manchester to Elmer Wind’s EJ Tire business on the Wedge to fill the gas tank. The truck was in use for 33 years according to information at the museum. They also record that a team of horses, a wagon and half a cartload of hay were traded for the truck. Alan wanted me to know how well that truck was made. Once when the head of the four cylinder engine had been removed for some repair, he said that the crankshaft (on ball bearings) could easily be turned by hand.
I have always liked this sort of thing. I tried to get the truck brought back for our community block party, a precursor to Let Them Eat Art. It didn’t happen. No one wanted to leave the truck outside all night. When it was on a trailer, it was too tall to fit in the city garage.
To my great delight I finally got to meet this Maplewood old timer in person, so to speak, this past week. The Maplewood Mill Autocar truck is a prominent part of the new exhibit ” Early Trucking in America” currently on display at the Orthwein Center at the National Museum of Transportation. Don’t miss it!
I hope you have enjoyed this post. Just one more thing…Your shoe is untied.