Friendship Train

After World War II came to a close, the country of France began the task of rebuilding a nation ravaged by war.  Years of German occupation had left the French people in great need of life's everyday necessities.  In his daily column, the Merry-go-round, noted Washington newspaperman Drew Pearson suggested that America come to the aid of its European friend.  Inspired by Pearson's idea of a Friendship Train, newspapers all across the country joined in the effort and over forty million dollars worth of supplies were collected to send to France.  Seven hundred boxcars of food, fuel, medicine, and clothing left on a ship from New York City and arrived in France on December 18, 1947.

One of the largest crowds ever to gather in Ames for a civic activity met the train and its noted passengers.  An estimated 5000 persons crowded the railroad station, which was decorated with American flags, banners and posters.

November 5

Mayors and other officials of towns in Story county met with Mayor Clinton J. Adams of Ames this morning to plan for their communities' participation in the Friendship train project.

Plans to erect a thermometer on Main Street showing the growth of cash collections are underway.  Send your contributions for Friendship Train now to any of the banks in Ames.  If donation is made by check it should be made payable to Friendship Train.

November 7

This noon the financial committee of the Friendship Train project announced $1,048.35 has been received towards the $10,000 goal.  Roger Alley, financial chairman, urged that everyone stop into the banks or mail their contributions at once.


November 8

FRIENDSHIP TRAIN ON WAY ACROSS NATION   The Friendship Train is speeding across the country today to collect food for starving Europe after a Hollywood style send-off.  Two big steam engines pulled the train past a cheering crowd of half a million.  The 15 flatcars carrying studio-decorated floats and movie stars were hooked behind the eight cars of food donated in southern California along with $12,821 in cash.

Arrival time in Ames is 3:15 p.m. that day [November 13] with departure scheduled for 4:15 p.m.  Roger Alley, financial committee chairman here, reported this morning $1,250.35 has been received towards the fund.  The $10,000 goal will be reached only by the cooperation of every individual organization and community in this area it was stated today.

Evaporated milk is being collected at the various grocery stores, garages and schools here and throughout the county.

November 10

FRIENDSHIP TRAIN ARRIVES IN FEW DAYS - URGE DONATIONS IMMEDIATELY TO MAKE GOAL   Reported today by Roger Alley, chairman of the financial committee was a total of $2,700.65 from local individuals and organizations with the exception of $150 sent from out of town to radio station station WHO.

The Friendship Train has doubled in size since it started across the country Friday.  It arrives in Ames Thursday afternoon at 3:15 p.m.


November 11

AMES IS NEARING FRIENDSHIP TRAIN GOAL   From all indications the Friendship Train goal of $10,000 or its equivalent in food to be shipped from here will be surpassed William Burns, chairman of the Citizens' Food Committee, said today.  Reported today was a total of $7,674.41.  This amount includes $1,673.76 collected by the women of Ames in a house-to-house canvass.

A philanthropic individual, Siegfred Olson, farmer living one and a half miles east of Ames, plans to sell at team of horses at the Ames sales barn Wednesday with proceeds going to the Friendship Train.

Sales of the "Westend News," a publication put out by a group of neighborhood children in Ames regularly, sold for two cents a copy instead of a penny this week.  The children explained the increase was to benefit the Friendship Train.

Four cars from Denver and the northern Colorado area were added plus southeastern Wyoming's 3000 bushels of wheat.  The train entered Wyoming with 32 cars.

November 12

CARLOADS OF FOOD READY FOR EUROPE the cash received by the financial committee totaled more than $11,000.  One carload of flour and 1000 cases of evaporated milk have been ordered.  The amount... does not include monetary value of the evaporated milk collected at the schools, garages and grocery stores.  Money received this evening and tomorrow morning will be included in a draft for additional food to be purchased in New York and sent to Europe with the foodstuffs collected by the Friendship Train.

TRAIN HERE TOMORROW Tomorrow is the big day, for the train will arrive at 3:15 p.m.  Barricades will be erected at strategic spots... The Kellogg railroad crossing will be closed during the stopover of the train... Chief Morris today asked the co-operation of everyone.  The boxcars will be decorated tomorrow by members of the Alpha Chi Omega service fraternity at Iowa State College.


Ames High Weekly Web, November 12

Carnation, Pet, Borden's, Libby's, Dairyland, Roberts, Jack Sprat, Opal, White House -- 890 cans of milk in all brands appeared for roll call in senior high homerooms Tuesday morning.  Cans by the dozen came in later.  Homeroom 208 topped the list of contributors in the high school after homeroom Tuesday morning with a total of 106 cans.  Homerooms 206, 109, and 111 were 100 percent at that time.

November 13

4 CARS OF FOOD SHIPPED  Two carloads of milk and two of flour from Ames, central Iowa communities and Des Moines were ready for the Friendship Train's scheduled stop in Ames today...  Another carload of flour can be purchased with the amount of money turned in over the goal.  A draft will be written for whatever monies came in too late to be used for the purchase of 1,060 cases of milk and carload of flour.

November 14

$15,780.88 COLLECTED FOR fRIENDSHIP TRAIN WHEN IT REACHED AMES   Ames, Iowa State college, Story county and other communities in central Iowa contributed $15,780.88 in cash and food towards the estimated $100,000 worth of food given the Friendship Train by Iowans, the largest contribution by any state since the train left Los Angeles on its cross country run.

The story of the train is being broadcast by the Voice of America program and Italian newspapers are playing it up.


November 17

FRIENDSHIP TRAIN CARS REACH PORT  The first 24-car section of the food-laden Friendship Train reached the port of New York today and two more sections approached the city from the north and south, gathering carloads of gift food from Americans out to prove their generosity to starving Europe. A salute to the Statue of Liberty and a ticker-tape parade up broadway will mark the end tomorrow of the cross-country relief drive that has gathered 169 frieght cars of food for shipment to Europe... Tugboats, police launches and fireboats will greet the food bearing barges while they circle Bedloe's island where stands the statue presented to the United States 61 years ago by the French people.  After the celebration, the food will be loaded for transport to Europe aboard ships provided by the American Export and United States steamship lines.

November 18

JUNIOR HIGH PUPILS GIVE 560 CANS MILK TO FRIENDSHIP TRAIN   Final figures compiled at Central Junior High school reveal that students there donated 560 cans of milk for the Friendship Train.  More than 90 percent of the school contributed.  For example, the fifth period civics class decided to pass the hat.  The result, from 34 pupils, was $2.26.  Three boys then received permission to follow the same procedure in other classes.  They collected $12.20, making a total of $14.46.  With this amount 130 cans of milk were purchased.  Homeroom 112, which had collected 43 cans, wanted to give more so each of the 31 pupils brought a quarter.  They bought more milk and ended up with 108 cans of milk. The following homerooms had 100 percent contributions, 94, 112, 206, 111, 202, 12, 107, 10.

November 19, Ames High Weekly Web

STUDENTS LOAD 851 CANS OF MILK ON TRAIN   The 851 cans of evaporated milk collected by Ames High students were loaded on the Friendship Train Thursday afternoon.  Ames schools were dismissed early so the students could see the train.  As the train come into the station, the Ames High band under the direction of R.D. Day played "The Iowa Corn Song" as the hundreds of spectators sang.  While the speakers were getting assembled, the band played "Iowa."

Joe Gerbrach, local theater manager, served as chairman of the reception committee.  Publisher of the Ames Daily Tribune, W.S. Rupe, introduced Governor Robert Blue who in behalf of the Iowa people extended the hand of friendship to Europe from the heart of the United States.  A representative of France and one from Italy thanked the American people for sending aid to their people.  Each representative spoke a few words to the listeners in his native tongue.

Drew Pearson, noted journalist and the originator of the Friendship Train idea, prophesied the train would be one mile in length by the time it reached New York.  He said there was no way to measure the hope, faith and friendship the train stood for.  The following high school boys helped load the train:  Bill Hukill, Van Holler, Bob Shaffer and Nunney Hagen.


The Ames high school band played appropriate music and supplied further color to the reception which awaited Governor Robert D. Blue; Drew Pearson, originator of the Friendship Train; Jean Visiu, the French consul general at Chicago; Nicolo Guili, Los Angeles business man appointed by the Italian ambassador to represent Italy.

Both the French and Italian representatives expressed appreciation on behalf of their people.  They spoke in English and in the language of their countries so the recipients of the food who view the coverage being made of the Friendship Train will be able to understand what was said.

 (Photos by Bruce Kellogg)