Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tucker Road Trip, Day 18

We head back to the Great Lakes region on this leg of the Tucker Road Trip to visit the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI.  The Gilmore Car Museum is home to both Tucker No. 1047 and the Tucker Historical Collection and Library (HCL).  TACA members may recall seeing No. 1047 on display at the Volo Auto Museum during the 2005 convention in Chicago, IL.

The Gilmore Car Museum began in 1963 as the hobby of Donald S. Gilmore when his wife, Genevieve, gave him an antique car for his birthday —a 1920 Pierce-Arrow “project car.” With the help of some friends, the auto was placed under a tent and a full restoration followed. The hobby soon grew into a collection of over 30 automobiles. Mr. Gilmore purchased 90 acres of farm property and had several historic barns dismantled piece by piece and moved to the site. It was Mr. Gilmore’s wife who suggested the idea of turning the collection into a museum where future generations could enjoy the restored cars for years to come. The Gilmores established a non-profit foundation, and opened the museum to the public for the first time in 1966. Donald Gilmore passed away in 1979, and Mrs. Gilmore in 1990, but the legacy they began continues to grow.  Today, the site includes eight historic barns, a re-created 1930s service station, a small town train station, and nearly three miles of paved roads. Besides experiencing the wonderful collection of automobiles, you might find yourself reliving (or even making a few) childhood memories viewing the nearly 75 vintage pedal cars on exhibit.

Tucker No. 1047
The Tucker Historical Collection and Library (HCL) was established by TACA on the grounds of the Gilmore Car Museum in 2000. The TACA collection is displayed in such a way that the Tucker legend can be shared and enjoyed by all. A re-created 1940's office reminiscent of what one may have found at Tucker Corporation, or at one of its dealers nationwide, shows the TUCKER logo boldly on the door. Visitors looking in may just imagine that Preston Tucker has just left, possibly to go down to the Engineering or Sales Departments to check on his project. This "office" is the permanent home of all the TACA archived materials acquired under the leadership of Jay Follis, HCL Director and current TACA President, and Frank Tucker, Curator Emeritus. Frank, a cousin to Preston Tucker, served as Curator of the TACA Archives from 1990 - 2000. Under his direction the collection grew from a single photo of Preston Tucker to literally thousands of items.  Today much of the growing collection is displayed at the Tucker Historical Collection and Library and is currently being placed into a computerized inventory. This, as well as a digital photo database, allows greater accessibility to the Tucker legend and enables TACA to assist other museums, students and enthusiast in strengthening their Tucker awareness.

The Gilmore Car Museum is located at 6865 W. Hickory Rd., Hickory Corners, MI 49060, within easy driving distance of Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Lansing and Grand Rapids, MI. The museum is open from May 1st through October 31st.  Visit the museum's website for more information.


(Post credit: Kit Fox; photo credit: TACA website)

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