Green Bay’s National Railroad Museum is turning down a million-dollar offer for one of its most popular exhibits: the “Dwight D. Eisenhower” locomotive.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower is a 1930s-era A4 locomotive, built in Britain and one of only a handful remaining. It’s named after Eisenhower because the World War II general used a similar locomotive to power his troop train.
The Green Bay museum sent the locomotive to Britain's National Railway Museum in the summer of 2012 with the understanding it would be given a complete cosmetic overhaul and then be returned later this year.
Jaqueline Frank, the museum's executive director, says a former board member opened his mail late last year and got a surprise.
“It was Christmas Eve, (he) opened up his mail and here was this million dollar check with a letter saying, “’I’d like to buy the locomotive for use in England,’” said Frank.
The check was recently returned. The museum is keeping the would-be buyers name secret. Frank says the locomotive is one of the museum's most popular attractions and a key part of its mission.
“When we were gifted this by the British government and received it in 1964, it was with the intention that the people of the United States would have this opportunity to learn from the amazing British engineering that went into this train, have that chance to touch it,” said Frank. “And we take our responsibility very, very seriously.”
The Eisenhower locomotive will be back on display in Green Bay in August.