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War machine rolls into Schenectady

M-47 Patton Tank returns home to ALCO museum

The M-47 Patton Tank leaves a trail of dirt were the tracks rolled after being driven into the museum.

The M-47 Patton Tank leaves a trail of dirt were the tracks rolled after being driven into the museum. Photo by John Purcell.

— Police sirens weren’t blaring as a M-47 Patton Tank tread spit out dirt in Schenectady, because the decommissioned WWII relic was simply retreating to its temporary home.

The American Locomotive Company Heritage Museum obtained its first large showpiece on Thursday, Sept. 22, from Jack and Mark Pollard, who are a father and son duo from Altamont with the unique hobby of building and restoring tanks. The M-47 tank will be on loan to museum until the Pollards ride it out. To get the tank into the building, ALCO workers constructed a dirt ramp from the old loading bay at the rear of the building.

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Tank returns home

Acting Mayor of Schenectady Gary McCarthy read a proclamation celebrating the tank’s return before it rumbled into the museum.

“The tank is one of the last tanks manufactured by the American Locomotive Company in 1952,” said McCarthy. “The M-47 Patton Tank is just the first of many vintage Schenectady-built products to be welcomed back home.”

Before ending up at the Pollard’s home, the tank was used for training purposes by the U.S. Army Reserves before it was sold to the Italian government. The tank is believed to be one of the last tanks manufactured by ALCO. The Pollards obtained the tank from a private collector in Indiana and put the tank back together piece by piece.

“We have several military vehicles and several armored tanks,” said Mark Pollard. “When we received it, it was totally disassembled … I think one of our hardest things was to find missing parts.”

Mark’s father, Jack Pollard, 78, had severed in the military, but Mark said there isn’t a particular reason they decided to restore tanks. Jack, though, implied his 47-year-old son spurred the interest. Their collection now totals three tanks, nine artillery pieces from WWII, jeeps and other vehicles.

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