Erv Bickford’s Dream of a Museum Comes to Life in Yarmouth

Susan and Her Mother Lyn Bickford at the Site of the Bickford Collection Museum

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,472)

For years, the signature Bickford antique trucks have been central to the parade in the annual Yarmouth Clam Festival.  Each year one or more of Erv’s antique trucks lumbered down the town’s tree lined Main Street as many  watched it from red, blue and green canvas chairs lined up on both sides of the picturesque town’s sidewalks.

“Erv wanted to have a truck museum when he was alive, but he ran out of time,” said his widow Lyn Bickford this afternoon at the site of the new truck museum on the Main Street of Yarmouth.   Bickford, 79, a pillar of Yarmouth, died last May.  He was on the Town Council for twenty-four years and owned Bickford Transportation, a trucking company that transported oil.  Mr. Bickford, a Maine native, was housebound for many months, but it gave him and his nephew, Timmy, sufficient time to design the Museum which now stands on land the Bickford’s purchased several years ago for that purpose.  Replacing an old coal shed that was torn down last year and inside the fenced in Museum under the post and beam structure, are twenty carefully chosen by the Bickford family and friends.  To the rear is another selection of antique vehicles that serves as a special place for children to explore, investigate and dream about the future – much as Erv did during his final months before he succumbed to cancer last spring.

Last year the Bickford family, Mrs. Bickford, and daughters Tamson, Susan and Catherine decided to finish the Bickford Collection Museum in time for this year’s Clam Festival.  They made the deadline with days to spare.  “It’s been a huge undertaking,” said Susan Bickford, this afternoon.  “Trying to keep all the pieces together so it would be ready in time for  the Festival.”  There are educated guesses that at one time Mr. Bickford owned about three hundred trucks, but Mrs. Bickford said she doesn’t know the exact count.  Over the years that number has been whittled down drastically.  Some of them have gone for scrap; the income derived from that process went to the rennovation of many of the trucks.   There are fifty trucks located at Yarmouth Junction not far from the Main Street Museum.

This afternoon Susan, a college art teacher,  read aloud to her mother a moving tribute she will read at an opening reception to the Bickford Collection Museum this Thursday evening – the evening before the 48th annual Yarmouth Clam Festival opens this year.  “He was a collector of anything old, mechanical and/or musical,” she said.

“I think I’m going on a trip,” were his last words.