Friday, August 16, 2019

RV/MH Hall of Fame, Elkhart, Indiana

Jim and I became lifetime members of the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2010 when we went to our first Escapees Escapade in Goshen, Indiana. The Hall of Fame has RVs from the early 1900s until the present. It's hard to say when people first began RVing, but the earliest truck camper at the Museum is dated 1913. The earliest recorded RV travel club is the Tin Can Tourists which started in 1919 (and just celebrated its 100th anniversary at Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville, Florida this past February).

Go RVing

Centennial Charlie

In the spring of 2010, Centennial Charlie ~ the official mascot of the 2010 RV Industry Centennial and one of the "Ambassadors of Affordability" in Go RVing's TV Commercials. He took a cross country road trip to visit RV shows, dealers, factories and rallies, spending time with people across the country who love RVing and the RV workers who are the heart and soul of the industry. 

The mini Model-T and trailer was built by Mr. Reas, a trailer park owner/ operator using parts obtained from early 1960s mobile home factories. It was used as a dollhouse by his young daughter who later drove the car pulling it around the trailer park.

Back in 2010 this placard was at the entrance into the museum showing the different RVs that were being used from 1910 until the present. It has been taken down and was not there when we came this year, and the person at the desk had no idea what happened to it. 

One of our good friends, Jack Culp, donated his trailer to the museum after he passed away. They had it here for a few years but it was in need of restoration, and as they were unable to do the restoration, the trailer was auctioned. It was purchased by a friend of ours (and friend of Jack) in Florida and he spent the past few years restoring it with Jim's help.

Here is a picture of Jack in front of his trailer, which was purchased new by his parents and in which they took vacations. Jack lived in the trailer for many years after his wife passed away and he sold his house. The trailer is a 1947 Westwood Coronado. 

Jack Culp

1947 Restored Westwood Coronado

1913 Earl Travel Trailer

1916 Telescoping Apartment on 1915 Model T Ford

Circa 1916

Popular Mechanics Magazine: Home comforts in motor car camping outfit. This outfit includes comfortable sleeping accommodations for two, a sheltered shower/bath compartment which can be warmed and supplied with warm water, a complete kitchen equipment, including a two-burner stove, a chest containing three drawers, special storage, a camp table and two chairs, six incandescent lights supplied by a battery, and other conveniences. 

1916 Cozy Camp Tent Trailer

This is an example of the earliest manufactured trailer as the RV industry began in the first part of the 20th century. Most all of the trailers were at this time were home made or custom made by local craftsmen. 

1931 Model AA Ford Housecar

This housecar is believed to have been built by an unknown custom carriage maker and woodworking artist. The floors are yellow pine and the cabinetry and interior is oak and yellow popular. It was discovered in a barn in Athens, Alabama in 1999, and restored. The engine ran fine the day it was purchased even after being in storage for over 40 years.

1932 Gilkie Kamp King Tent Trailer
1935 Covered Wagon  Travel Trailer
1954 Holiday Rambler Travel Trailer

Inside View

1954 Yellowstone Travel Trailer

Inside View
Poker Alice

Poker Alice was quite a legend in her time. Why they have a statute of her here, I have no idea, but it's kind of fun anyway to get a picture with her. Here is a picture of what she really looked like.

Her birth year is not known; one source says she was born in 1851 in England and another in 1853 in Virginia. She became a cigar smoking gambler who was known throughout the West. She married mining engineer Frank Duffield in 1875. She accompanied her husband to the gambling parlors and soon began sitting in on games. She discovered she had a good head for counting cards and figuring odds. She was actually an attractive woman and wore only the finest clothes, and used her looks to distract male players, even though many pictures show her as a gruff woman smoking a cigar. Her husband was killed in a mining accident and she was forced to play poker to earn money.

She eventually ended up in Deadwood, South Dakota where she met and married Warren G. Tubbs, a house painter and fellow card dealer. Together they had seven children. They had a homestead around Sturgis where they raised their children. In 1910 her husband contracted pneumonia and died. 

Around this time she bought an old house on Bear Butte Creek near the Fort Mead Army Post and opened a brothel. In 1913 there was an unfortunate accident at the brothel when some soldiers became unruly and Poker Alice fired a shotgun, and unfortunately the bullet went through two, killing one. She and six girls were taken to jail, but was later acquitted of any wrongdoing and the shooting was ruled accidental. She died on February 27, 1930 in a Rapid City hospital after a gall bladder operation and is buried at St. Aloysius Cemetery in Sturgis. Her house was scheduled for demolition but a Sturgis businessman bought the house and moved it to Sturgis where it is now a bed and breakfast.

1931 Mae West Housecar

This Chevrolet based custom made housecar was one of the enticements offered by Paramount Studios to get Mae West to leave the Vaudeville circuit and begin to make movies for them. It is designed as a chauffeur driven lounge and not as a camper unit. It features a small hot plate stove, an icebox, and a small table to enjoy lunch or a spot of tea. It was used for several years to transport Ms. West from her home or hotel to the shooting locations. The story indicates that she had a rocking chair on the back porch where she could enjoy the breeze.

1929 Wiedman Housecar

1935 Bowlus Rod Chief

This Bowlus Road Chief is one of 50 remaining. They were designed by world famous sailplane builder Hawley Bowlus, where the predecessor of the more recognized Airstream clipper style. When Airstream took over the design in 1936, they removed the boat-tail feature and moved the entry from the front to the side. 

Star Streak II

This is one of the ugliest motorhomes I have ever seen. It is custom built by Paul Jones of Cape Coral, Florida. Built in 1988 using a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Chassis, it was designed and built to fit in a standard residential garage door. 

1928 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar

One of only three housecars built by the Pierce Arrow Company before the crash of 1929 ended their manufacture of luxury housecars. It is an example of the high end housecars of the 1920s. 
1933 Ford Kamp Kar

Custom built by Walter Runkle of Macomb, Illinois, who was a home builder who built custom vehicles for local customers from about 1915 to 1940. This unit was used from 1933 to 1947 for yearly winter trips to Florida. The V8 engine was introduced by Henry Ford in 1932, so this is one of the first housecars powered by the V8 engine.

1969 Pace Arrow
Fleetwood's First Motorhome
1936 Roadhome Coach

They also had a display of miniature trailers and vehicles, so I took pictures of some of them:

Texas Roadcar

The "Big Chicken" located in Marietta, Georgia

The American Journey ~~ The All-American Family experience of travel is a "home on wheels" and is filled with memories and stories of the road and pictures of scenic places across our vast wonderland. I hope the places we have visited which I highlight in my Blog will give you the wanderlust to explore our extraordinary country and look for new adventures. 

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