A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, at 10:30 a.m. to celebrate the restored Merci Train boxcar. Mississippi Department of Archives and History director H. T. Holmes and Jackson  architect Robert Parker Adams will make brief remarks about the history and preservation of the boxcar. merci-carThe Honorary Consul of France to Hattiesburg for the state of Mississippi, Keltoum Rowland, will be in attendance. A reception will follow in the historic GM&O Depot, just beside where the car now sits.

The wooden train cars were given in gratitude to each state by France following World War II. Few of the boxcars still exist. Decades of exposure to the elements had taken its toll on the boxcar, which had been located behind the War Memorial Building. A Community Heritage Preservation Program grant from MDAH allowed damaged siding and missing placards to be replaced and the boxcar to be restored and relocated. The car was moved onto a section of specially constructed narrow track under a new aluminum canopy, and interpretive signage covering the history of the Merci Trains was created and installed, along with a concrete platform and metal benches.

To learn more about the preservation project, follow the coverage in the Mississippi History Newsletter fall 2010, summer 2011, and spring 2013 issues.