Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Boston & Maine Railroad's Minuteman Logo - A Small History

With the introduction of maroon/gold EMD E-units to the Boston & Maine diesel roster in 1945 came a nifty new logo, usually simply referred to as simply the "Minuteman".  But do people outside of New England understand that the logo was actually based on something real, not just an idea from the B&M advertising or art department?

The patriotic logo was apt for a railroad so connected to Boston, Lexington, and Concord Massachusetts. And here in Massachusetts, when someone says "The Minuteman Statue", you have to then ask "which one?". For there are TWO of them, one in Lexington and one in Concord.

The Lexington statue is of "a colonial farmer with musket by Boston sculptor Henry H. Kitson... stands at the southeast corner of the Lexington Battle Green, facing the route of the British advance... Originally a functioning drinking fountain and watering place for men, horses, cattle and dogs, it was unveiled on April 19, 1900, the 125th anniversary of the battle... was supposed to depict Captain John Parker, leader of the Lexington militia in 1775. Medford resident Arthur Mather, among others, served as a model for the sculptor... although called the 'Minuteman', it is meant to represent a member of the Lexington militia... The actual Minutemen were an elite subset of this group, young and fit and able to respond quickly".
The Concord statue was made by Daniel Chester French and was "unveiled for the Centennial celebration of the battle on April 19, 1875... is set near the spot where the first colonial militia men were killed in Concord... 7 foot tall bronze statue was cast from old Civil War cannons by the Ames Foundry of Chicopee Massachusetts. The pedestal base measures 7 ½ feet tall and 4 ½ feet on each side. Inscribed on the front facing is the first stanza of the poem 'The Concord Hymn' by Ralph Waldo Emerson". 

The B&M logo was based in the Concord statue.

With the takeover of the B&M by Patrick McGinnis in the 1950s came a switch of maroon/gold paint to (in general) one of blue/black/white.  

To mark the United State's bicentennial in 1976, the old Minuteman was applied to various equipment, such as boxcar 77039 and locomotives 200, 1750 & 1751.

In 2021, both statues are still with us, but the Boston & Maine in Lexington is now the Minuteman bike path, and in Concord is the MBTA Fitchburg commuter line.  No name passenger trains, no freight trains.  The B&M name itself is set to finally die with the purchase of Pan Am Railways by CSX.