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The Bannock County Historical Society Presents: Idaho’s Merci Train

by | Mar 12, 2024 | Commissioner Press Releases, Highlights, Newsroom

Greetings, Members! The Bannock County Historical Society’s monthly business meeting is being held March 19th at 6 PM in the Veterans Memorial Building, 300 N. Johnson Ave, Pocatello (parking available in the rear lot) due to ongoing construction in our building. This month’s presentation is by Tabatha Butler, who briefly served as Director of the BCHS Museum. Tabatha resides in a historic home in Pocatello. She has a B.A. in History from Idaho State University and a master’s degree in Applied Historical Research from Boise State. She currently serves on the Historic Preservation Commission for the City of Pocatello and the promotion committee for Historic Downtown Pocatello. She is an active member of the Pocatello- Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce, Businesswomen of Pocatello, and Delta Kappa Gamma. She works at Idaho State University as a Philanthropic Advisor for the College of Education and the Idaho Museum of Natural History. She and her boyfriend of 14 years, Tyler, are avid skiers and love living in SE Idaho.

Tabatha will present her research on the importance of preservation and how she worked to make Idaho’s Merci Train Boxcar collection accessible to the public. What is the Merci Train? Devastated by World War II, France was grateful for the generous donation of food, medicine, and clothing sent by Americans in 1947. Just over a year later, the French sent the Merci Train, which was full of personal treasures, to the United States. Paintings, porcelain dolls, wedding dresses, photos, books, war medals, and much more made the transatlantic trip as a large thank-you note to the American people. The Merci Train, or Train De La Reconnaissance Françoise Au Peuple Americains, was a gift of forty-nine boxcars from the French to the United States. The French used the Merci Train to express their thanks for the 1947 Friendship Train sent by Americans full of provisions. In 1949, each state received a boxcar of gifts, including one boxcar split between the District of Columbia and the Territory of Hawaii. Tabatha researched and cataloged the collection of gifts for Idaho held at the Idaho State Historical Museum.  Not to be missed event!

This event is free and open to the public, so do invite friends. E-mail or call 208-233-0434 with any questions.

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