Doug Fredrick is a collector whose passion for the history of police and military motorcycles lead to the opening of this special museum in May of 2011. The American Police Motorcycle Museum is located on Route 3 in Meredith, only 3/10th of a mile from the largest Harley-Davidson dealer in New Hampshire, which is an added plus.
In 2012 the museum celebrated the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the NH State Police and the featured exhibit included a completely restored 1937 NH State Police motorcycle. Starting with just the frame and chassis, and using vintage photos of the bike when it was in service, Chris Twine of Patriot Custom in Southbridge, MA restored the bike to its original condition. Chris’s research turned up the original paint code and, despite appearing to be a two-tone black and white scheme in vintage photos, the lighter color is actually silver.
It’s not known which officer originally rode this 1937 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, but it could have been Lawrence Carpenter. Graduating from police training in 1937 Carpenter became part of the newly formed New Hampshire State Police. His career photos, medals, a 1937 training manual for writing citations, and other family memorabilia were graciously donated to the museum and greatly enhance the exhibit.
Every collector has a favorite and Doug is no exception. Displayed on the second floor is a 1957 H-D Massachusetts State Police bike formerly ridden by Sgt. Bruce “Dixie” Douglas. This police motorcycle is unique in that it has the original paint and has never disassembled, yet is so clean it appears to have been restored. There are other great bikes on display including an original1916 Indian Powerplus with sidecar; a 1941 Indian 741 military police; a 1921 H-D Model JD; and even a 1919 Excelsior. All of the bikes in the museum are in running condition, which makes this collection even more fascinating.
Downstairs is the workshop where restoration of these classic motorcycles takes place. There’s also a 1948 Indian Chief from the Laconia Police Department that has been positioned on a stage; visitors are invited to dress in a police uniform and sit on the motorcycle for souvenir photo ops.
One doesn’t have to be a rider to enjoy a museum such as this, nor does one have to be a law enforcement officer to appreciate the history it represents. But for motorcyclists, whether they are those who race or those who chase, this is a place not to be missed.
This year—2013—the museum will pay tribute to Female Motor Officers.
The American Police Motorcycle Museum, Route 3 in Meredith (just south of Route 104) is open Mon-Sun in July and August. Admission is $11 with credit card; $10 cash; half price for active and retired military personnel. (603) 279-6387