A Step into the Boxcar

By Josalyn Moran

Putnam, Connecticut is home to the Gertrude Warner Museum — a town of sorts — replete with the buildings in which Gertrude Chandler Warner led her life…the houses in which she lived, the church she attended, and of, course, the school in which she taught for decades.


School where Gertrude taught first grade


A step into the boxcar is like a step into the first boxcar book itself.


Exterior of the boxcar (before it's recent paint job)


One end of the car is devoted to reproductions of items that were used by Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny.  Whether it is Benny’s wagon, his teddy, or his pink cup with the crack, one is transported back into the setting of the story that started it all.  On one wall there is a silhouette of Jessie watering her garden.  There is an old railroad light hanging from the ceiling; their pine bough beds are recreated (using hay this time of the year). It is such a charming spot.


Recreation from Book 1 Scene


Another nook is filled with memorabilia from the author’s teaching days.  She taught first grade for most of her career.  There are classroom pictures, report cards, as well as samples of the silhouettes and birthday cards that she made for each of her students.


GCW with class of 1945

A real highlight of the collection, however, is the desk and typewriter at which the stories were written.



GCW desk and typewriter



A Step into the Boxcar