Arundel, ME: Canteen Truck Converted From Civil Defense to Seafood

The former Oxford County Civil Defense canteen truck has been restored and is being used to sell lobster rolls and clam cakes on the main seacoast.

By Leslie H. Dixon | SunJournal.com

 

The former Oxford County Civil Defense canteen truck has been restored and is being used to sell lobster rolls and clam cakes on the main seacoast.

PARIS — A rare Maine Civil Defense food truck that was once stationed on Western Avenue has been purchased and restored by a Maine businesswoman.

“I actually found it on eBay,” Stephanie Nadeau said of the 1961 Boyertown Better Built Multi-Alloy Merchandiser that she purchased for $7,800 and drove from Massachusetts to Maine.

Originally designated by Maine Civil Defense as a canteen truck to service National Guard emergencies and stationed at the Oxford County civil defense headquarters, the truck had 11,000 miles on the odometer.

Nadeau, a Kennebunk resident and owner of the Ocean Roll mobile food truck, uses it to sell lobster rolls and clams cakes. It now sits at the business on Route 1 in Arundel.

“I was looking for a concession stand. I bought it on eBay and drove it home with no brakes,” she said. The previous owner lived in Dorchester, Mass., and it had no current sticker.

 

 

The interior of the original Oxford County civil defense canteen truck is shown in this picture.

 

The interior of the original Oxford County civil defense canteen truck is shown in this picture.

“We kind of snuck it home,” Nadeau said of the truck that topped out at 45 miles per hour on the highway. “It was kinda of a slow trip back.”

Nadeau said the truck’s provenance was verified by the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, a museum dedicated to the preservation of antique work trucks, which provided her with rare professional color photos of the truck coming off the production line in the summer of 1960. The museum offered to purchase the truck for its collection, but Nadeau said she has put too much money into the restoration.

“When I got it most of the original equipment was still in it,” she said. “The big coffee urns, steam table, stove, cabinets, and the fridge. I desperately wanted to keep the fridge, but the glass was broken in the door. I could replace the glass, but not the gasket that held the glass in place. The cabinets were painted wood, which does not meet sanitation code.”

Some of the interior equipment such as the 1960s steam table was given to the museum.

Nadeau said documents found in the truck indicate that the truck was stationed at the civil defense facility in Paris until at least 1999. It’s last recorded inspection here was apparently done in 2000 by Ripley and Fletcher in Paris.

Nadeau said the truck disappeared until 2010 when it was located in Massachusetts, its retro lines and brushed aluminum trim obscured by what she called “an unfortunate paint job of blue house paint.” But, she said, the truck was running and intact.

Since the purchase, Nadeau has done an extensive and difficult top-to-bottom restoration, requiring custom fabrication of almost all replacement parts.

http://www.sunjournal.com/oxford-hills/story/1052885