Today in History: A Gift From France Arrives in Clinton Square

" A Gift from France"

On February 9th 1949, a railroad box car arrived in Syracuse full of gifts from France. It was one of forty-nine cars that were sent to the United States as an expression of gratitude from the people of France for the “Friendship Train” that the US provided to the war-ravaged country immediately following World War II. While the “Friendship Train” contained over 700 box cars of food, clothing, and fuel, the “Merci Train” contained a wide variety of items including a pair of wooden shoes, a wedding dress, a bell cast for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, and even a jeweled Legion of Honor medal that was believed to have belonged to Napoleon. After its trip across the state, the box car passed into the care of a veterans association. It returned to Syracuse in 1956 while on loan to the Rail City Museum.

Today the boxcar can be found at the corner of Judd and Halsey Roads in Whitesboro NY.