Known as a “Forty and Eight” (originally designed to carry forty men or eight cavalry horses during World War I), the French Gratitude Train Boxcar is one of forty-three remaining boxcars in the United States that were given in 1949 as a thank-you gift from the people of France. Most of the memorial gift items originally contained in the boxcar are now secured in the collections of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. The five hundred objects exemplify everyday life, childhood, historic treasures, and personal mementos of the French civilian population that endured World Wars I and II. A covered shelter (2005) for the boxcar resembles a European train station. The boxcar renovation, shelter, and exhibit were enabled by statewide contributions from La Société des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux organization, a Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service, and appropriations from the North Dakota legislature.
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French Gratitude Train Boxcar
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