The American Police Motorcycle Museum

By Ken Aiken - the Gear Guy on
Tim Smith of W. Springfield, MA dons the Laconia Police uniform and poses on a 1948 Indian Chief.

Tim Smith of W. Springfield, MA dons the Laconia Police uniform and poses on a 1948 Indian Chief.

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.

Restored 1937 Harley-Davidson, one of the first motorcycles used by the NH State Police.

Restored 1937 Harley-Davidson, one of the first motorcycles used by the NH State Police.

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.

An enlargement of a photo of the 1937 police bike that was restored.

An enlargement of a photo of the 1937 police bike that was restored.

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.

Doug on a 1957 Harley-Davidson in original condition.

Doug on a 1957 Harley-Davidson in original condition.

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.

An original Boston PD motorcycle being restored for Fenway Park.

An original Boston PD motorcycle being restored for Fenway Park.

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

1919 Excelsior.

1919 Excelsior.

1921 Harley-Davidson JD.  Note cookie sheet on the floor to catch the oil from the "flow-through" system.

1921 Harley-Davidson JD. Note cookie sheet on the floor to catch the oil from the “flow-through” system.

2 comments

  1. I really admire your collection. I was a cop here in manatee county Fla for several years. About 10 years ago I got a chance to buy a local 1991fxrp when Manatee county sheriffs dept traded it in. I knew the officer who had driven the bike and it had only been used in parades and for escort. The bike has 12k original miles on it. I have kept it original and always will. I ride it now and then and the fxrp handles great. I have the full fairing model. Only things missing on it are the passing lights ( blue) and the radio box. I love these old police Harley’s.
    Best,
    Chuck

  2. Looking for anyone who can shed some light on an old gun light made by Thompson Manufacturing.

    Also known as the “Tommy gun”, I believe this light was used on an old ’20-’30’s Indian police motor unit.

    It’s a point & shoot head light, complete with a trigger switch. I’m looking for anyone who would it’s history.

    It works very well, I hooked it up to a 9v battery. I have pictures I can send if anyone can shed some light on it!

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