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Caribou resident leaves nearly 100 vintage sleds to city

CARIBOU, Maine — Thanks to a generous donation, anyone who walks into the Caribou Wellness and Recreation Center and looks up will find 93 vintage sleds hanging from the upper walls of the lobby.

The sleds came from the late Karla Wolters, who wanted the collection to stay in one piece and on display for the public to see, according to Parks and Rec Superintendent Gary Marquis.

Nathan Germain, head of maintenance, along with Marquis and volunteers finished installing the collection March 21, and Germain hung up a framed photo of Wolters with a write-up detailing her life and impact.

The late Karla Wolters of Madawaska Lake and Zeeland, Michigan left her entire collection of vintage sleds to the Caribou Rec Department late last year. According to Parks and Rec Superintendent Gary Marquis, the only caveat with the contribution is that the collection stays in one place. Here, the sleds can be seen hanging in the Caribou Wellness and Recreation Center lobby.
(Christopher Bouchard)

Wolters spent many years as a coach and professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and coached a total of 1,792 athletic contests over the course of her career. She and her husband Tom have resided at Madawaska Lake and Zeeland, Michigan and, according to the displayed write-up, Tom currently lives in Madawaska Lake.

Germain said Wolters provided information for all the sleds, detailing their individual history and manufacturing dates. Information plates attached to each sled will feature her write-ups, according to Germain.

Bryan Cullins of Signtech will craft the plaques. Carpenter Mike McCarthy made the brackets for them. Once the brackets were up, Germain said it took him, Marquis and other volunteers about four and a half hours to hang up all the sleds.

“Everyone who walks through here stops to take a gander at the sleds,” said Germain, “and they let us know how nice it is.”

Germain said he was “shocked” when he learned of Wolters’ donation.

“Any collection of this size is quite a feat,” he said, “even over an entire lifetime.”

Germain said an adjacent room will house a few more sleds, since they couldn’t all fit in the main lobby. The attachment of the plates, he said, will complete the display.

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