Has your child ever played in our small wooden train cars at the museum? How about at the train tables and the child-size train depot? We thought you might like to know the story of the WWII veteran who built them.
Stan Fletcher began volunteering at the museum in 1993, helping to salvage rail and lay tracks on our right-of-way. He was a retired Civil Engineer, looking to keep busy and to put the skills of his trade to good use.
Stan’s long career in engineering got started during World War II when he was a member of the “Seabees”, the Construction Battalion of the U.S. Navy. He served in Iwo Jima, constructing an air strip, a hospital and 10,000-gallon jet fuel tanks, among other projects. After the war he finished college and went on to work on major construction projects such as the New York Thruway, the New Jersey Turnpike, the Sunshine Parkway, a loch on the Ohio River, a number of major bridges and a housing development on Biscayne Bay. When it was time to retire, Stan and his wife returned to Maine (they were both originally from Bangor) to settle. The next year he began volunteering at the railroad museum.
At first, Stan worked alone in restoration, as there was an immediate and ever-present need for someone with his experience. New volunteers joined the team and Stan became the Manager of the Restoration Department for many years. With much of the equipment dating back to the late 1800s, restoration projects are ongoing, in addition to special assignments and emergency window repairs.
Perhaps Stan’s most enduring legacy at the railroad museum is his fantastic wooden creations for children. Stan designed and built a child-size locomotive then created a passenger car and caboose to complete the train. The child-size train is one of the most popular features in the museum for young children as well as a favorite setting for taking photographs. Thousands of families from all over the country likely have photographs of their children posing with Stan’s train! In addition to the wooden train, Stan designed and built a child-sized train depot, a children’s play table with benches, and some “play suitcases” to accompany the train depot. He quietly contributed immeasurably to the quality of the museum and to the visitor experience as well as the essential work of train car restoration and maintenance. We are so grateful.
We’re saddened to share that Stan passed away in February at the age of 97. Thank you for all of your service Stan! Your contributions to the organization will live on for many years to come!