WHEATON – The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park is planning a welcome for more than 50 historic military vehicles and their owners Aug. 20.
The visit is part of a two-day stop in DuPage County during the 2019 Transcontinental Motor Convoy, sponsored by the Military Vehicle Preservation Association.
The convoy, which started Aug. 11 in Washington, D.C., and ends in San Francisco on Sept. 14, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Army’s first motor convoy across the United States in 1919 along the famed Lincoln Highway.
“We began a partnership with MVPA back in 2009 when the 90th anniversary convoy stopped here on its way to California,” said Ian Richardson, historic vehicles program director for the First Division Museum. “They were so impressed with how we treated them that this time around, a decade later, they’re making a multi-day stop in Wheaton, specifically to enjoy the museum and the park. The MVPA has been good to the museum, contributing to the success of our own historic vehicle fleet.”
The restored vehicles will be staged at Cantigny Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 20. Visitors are invited to come see them and interact with their owners, most of whom are veterans and collect military vehicles as a hobby.
One of the vehicles on exhibit will be the First Division Museum’s own World War I “Liberty Truck,” which joined the museum’s fleet in 2018 after a lengthy restoration process. The truck is not in the convoy, but it does run – one of the few models of its kind that still functions.
“The convoy participants are eager to tour the museum and I know a few are especially excited to see the Liberty Truck,” Richardson said.
Members of MVPA conduct convoys of various lengths throughout the year. Transcontinental convoys are uncommon and require many local support teams along the 3,200-mile route. Cantigny is pitching in by donating fuel for each historic vehicle and meals for the owners and their families.
The convoy riders will camp at the DuPage County Fairgrounds for two nights. Those who want to see the vehicles but are unable to visit Cantigny can stop by the fairgrounds on Aug. 21, a convoy rest day. The vehicles resume their cross-country journey Aug. 22.