GILEAD — The Gilead Historical Society was formed in 2004 after the Town of Gilead held their Bicentennial Celebration. Since that time, the Society has moved two buildings onto their property and restored them. The 1903 Schoolhouse was moved in 2009 when Route 2 was under construction and the 1851 Railroad Station was acquired in 2011. The Society has also published six books on the history of the Town of Gilead and the surrounding area, such as Hastings and the Wild River region.

Several other projects have been completed throughout the past few years, but there was one that just seemed to hang on. In 2013, Stephen McLain found a baggage wagon that was in very poor condition and donated it to the Society. All of the metal parts were there but the wood had disintegrated long ago. He wanted to preserve it before it was too far gone. He enlisted the aid of his son, Brad McLain, and wife, Carole Mason, to load it onto a trailer and bring it to Gilead. So, the first part of the journey was complete when Stephen and Lise McLain donated the wagon.

Over the past few years, the GHS has raised funds to restore the wagon.  Since the quotes received were much more than we could raise, the project was put on hold. Last summer, the Browns became involved. Ted and Emmy Brown, who are longtime summer residents on the Wild River Road, or Route 113, stopped by the GHS and learned about the wagon and how it needed to be restored. It seems that their son, Tedd Brown, had a business and was very much into restoring vehicles.

Tedd appeared with a trailer and removed the wagon to Hampstead, NH, where his business, Cruiser Solutions, is located. The wagon spent the winter there, being restored by Tedd’s dedicated crew. The wagon returned to the GHS on the day of the Annual Meeting in September. ‘A beautiful work of art’ is the only way to describe it.

Hugh Chapman spoke about the journey the wagon went through and then introduced Tedd, who spoke on the process that was used to restore the wagon. The dedication of three plaques was then presented: “Donated by Stephen and Lise McLain”, “Restored by Cruiser Solutions and the Browns”, and “Restored in Memory of Robert ‘Bob’ Bishop”.  Bob, who passed away in 2020, was a Life Member of the Gilead Historical Society and a very active and dedicated member, along with his wife Judy. He loved everything about railroads and their history.

The journey of the baggage wagon has come to an end beside the 1851 Railroad Station, where it will stand proudly as a reminder of what hard work by the GHS members and the generosity of the Brown family can accomplish.

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