Rare, Historic Military Tents Stolen From Centralia Museum


Four historical military tents from as far back as 1917 were stolen from America’s Team Museum in Centralia last week.

Along with a few vehicle batteries and other miscellaneous items, museum owner Peter Lahmann estimates a loss of $6,000 to $7,000.

“The dollar value doesn’t bother me as much as the loss of the historical value,” Lahmann told The Chronicle. “They’re a piece of history, and it’s irreplaceable, virtually irreplaceable.”

Those four tents comprised the museum’s entire large tent supply, which were used in historical displays. Among them was a WWI model 1917 wall tent — one that took the museum years to identify.

Eventually, Lahmann said a 1917 Army engineering technical manual gave it away.

“You don’t just go to the surplus store and buy those. It’s taken years to acquire those in good condition,” he said.

While Centralia police have been contacted, Lahmann said he hasn’t heard much back. He first noticed the theft last Thursday, seeing a torn-down post of the chain link fence around his storage lot.

Seeing that a cheaper pop-up tent was also stolen, Lahmann reckons the culprit took the tents for shelter purposes, rather than to re-sell the collectible items.

“I don’t think they have any idea of what they actually got,” he said.

The museum has alerted military collector organizations across the region so fellow history buffs can be on the lookout for the items being resold in those circles.

“If these popped up in the normal collector circles, they’re fairly unique, and people would know,” Lahmann said.