The Merci Boxcar of Welch, West Virginia
While my good riding buddy Joe and I were cruising around the greater Welch, WV area – as we pulled in to town I spotted the unmistakable sight of a Merci boxcar and quickly pulled in to the little park.
I recently learned about the Merci boxcars from the Team Strange Love and Merci Grand Tour that’s going on. Team Strange are the folks that hosted the Whispering Giants Grand Tour that I participated in a couple of years ago.
Something about the train car looks so sweet, so charming to me. It has a delicate, almost toy-like quality to it. Serendipitously stumbling across one of the 40-ish boxcars was a treat.
Over the years people have asked “how do you find this stuff?” And while I do go looking for certain things – others just seem to find me. Merci, universe!
The Welch, WV Merci boxcar:
The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from at least that many individual French citizens. They were showing their appreciation for the more than 700 American box cars of relief goods sent to them by (primarily) individual Americans in 1948. The Merci Train arrived in New York harbor on February 3rd, 1949 and each of the 48 American states at that time received one of the gift laden box cars. The 49th box car was shared by Washington D.C. and the Territory of Hawaii.
More about the Merci Train: