Guest Post From PhotoByJohnbo

I have been following, reading and commenting on the blog by photobyjohnbo (not his real name [duh…], I’ll let him reveal that) for quite some time. He has done the same for my blog. We have become, for lack of a better term, “blog buddies.” He and I have never met, nor spoken voice-to-voice, but I very much appreciate his support of Disaffected Musings. “Blog buddies” are one of the few benefits of the Internet, in my opinion. Although we all want to think we are different from everyone else, almost all of us like to find people with similar interests. photobyjohnbo is also a fan of classic cars and of aviation.

His blog, which everyone should check out here, is about photography. He has a gift, refined by experience, for shooting great pictures. His guest post is about the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, South Dakota. This museum and its proprietor have been featured more than once on one of the only TV shows I watch, American Pickers. Without further ado:

 

Murdo’s Famed Pioneer Museum and Auto Show – A Guest Post from PhotoByJohnbo

 

First, I will take a moment to give a word of thanks to RulesOfLogic for sharing his blogspace and inviting me to guest here on Disaffected Musings. He and I share a love of classic (and otherwise) automobiles. With that in mind, I submit for you, dear reader, a small collection of images from a world-famous automotive museum. As you may note from the opening photo, the museum has a little bit of everything, cars, trucks, even motorcycles, and a pioneer village to attract tourists traveling along I-90 across South Dakota.

 

 

All along I-90, those iconic signs for Wall Drug and other Mount Rushmore attractions are interspersed with signs inviting the travelers to stop at Murdo to visit the Pioneer Museum. For the car buff, Murdo is a worthy stop. In several buildings, one car after another is lined up, the best of the collection is in the main building just past the admissions desk. One of the first displays features an original General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard. This 1969 Dodge Charger is one of 17 identical vehicles used in the production of the TV show.

 

Though the museum has many production cars on display, they also feature some one-off vehicles such as this beautifully finished wooden body. The beauty isn’t skin deep, however, as this custom car features twin V-8 engines. What vehicle would be better for towing your Chris-Craft Wooden Boat to the launch on a summer’s day?

 

You won’t find any cars here likely to be featured singly on a “Concours D’elegance.” Nor will you find throngs of people ready to throw down thousands of dollars for any of the specimens at this “Auto Show” in a fashion similar to Mecum or Barrett-Jackson. The place reminds me of a combination antique car and pioneer museum. Trip Advisor rates the place with 235 reviews as Excellent to Very Good. I don’t know that I would rate it as “excellent”, but very good seems to fit right with me.

 

An entire building is dedicated to antique motorcycles and features a Harley once owned by Elvis Presley. It’s a beautiful blue bike and tricked out like you might imagine. I attempted to photograph it to share here, but the entire display is encased in plexiglass and the photos I took were unsuitable due to the reflections on the enclosure.

 

As I mentioned above, there is a “pioneer village” that includes historic buildings moved to the museum from around the region. Those of a certain age may remember a popular ad campaign from a now defunct shaving lotion company. Outside an old school house, small rectangular signs bring back memories of the days when highways featured Burma Shave advertisements. In this case, the signs read, “Past the Schoolhouse”, “Take it slow”, “Let the little”, “shavers grow”, “Burma Shave.”

 

The museum was started in 1954 by A. J. (Dick) Geisler and his family. He started with a few classic cars that attracted visitors to stop at Murdo and fill their fuel tanks at his gas station. The cars attracted enough attention and customers that Dick Geisler became inclined to grow his collection. From that start the Murdo Pioneer Auto Show now features over 275 vehicles, 60 tractors, 60 motorcycles and lots of other collectibles.

 

If you are interested in buying one of their classic cars, some vehicles are offered for sale from a link on the Pioneer Auto Show website. Given that this post is written during the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic, it would be wise to confirm their current status as to hours of operation and whether or not the restaurant and gift shop is open. There is no reference to special conditions on their website, so it might be wise to give them a call before traveling any great distance.

The museum is located just off the junction of I-90 and US Highway 83 at Murdo, South Dakota. According to their website, the museum’s winter hours are variable but, in the summers, they are normally open daily from 9 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Central Time. Weekend hours are 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Admission is a reasonable $12 for adults and children 5-12 is $6. Check their website here before you go, though, as any of these details might have changed by the time you read this. Expect to spend a couple of hours here, more if you are a classic car nut. If your family isn’t quite into cars, they can hang around the “pioneer town,” look at other memorabilia, or treat the kids to some ice cream in the Covered Wagon Cafe.

Thanks again to RulesOfLogic for sharing his space in the Blog-o-sphere. If you liked this post, stop by Journeys With Johnbo for more. In addition to classic cars, you will find travel posts and features on photography. If you like what you see, give us a “follow.”

John Steiner

 

#photobyjohnbo

#PioneerAutoMuseum

#AmericanPickers

#disaffectedmusings

 

Throwback Thursday

My wonderful wife and I watch A LOT of episodes of American Pickers. We are under no allusions that the show is a 100% accurate portrayal of how Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz “do their job.” (We know, for example, that Frank Fritz doesn’t really work for Antique Archaeology.) We strongly suspect that none (or almost none) of the picks are really not pre-arranged and the same for the “negotiations.” However, the vast array of items shown as well as the historical tidbits make the show interesting for us even after well over 200 episodes have been produced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From curbsideclassic.com a picture of the Nash Airflyte that sits outside of the Antique Archaeology shop in LeClaire, Iowa. It is a 1950 Statesman Super.

Nash and Hudson merged in 1954 to create American Motors. However, Nash was founded in 1916 by former General Motors President Charles Nash who acquired the Thomas B. Jeffery Company that had manufactured automobiles since 1902. In the late 1930s, Nash created the heating and ventilation system that is still used in cars today. Nash also introduced seat belts (in 1950) and the first US built compact car (also in 1950). The Jeffery Company was also an innovator producing the first reliable four-wheel drive truck (the Jeffery Quad) in 1913 that Nash kept producing until 1928.

As I have written many times (so many that regular readers are no doubt tired of reading it), fewer companies manufacturing cars means fewer sources of innovation for styling and for engineering. In my opinion, it is not just dry history to remember these defunct companies.

See the source image

Another picture from curbsideclassic.com shows a 1950 Nash Ambassador in much better condition than the car parked outside of Antique Archaeology. Apparently, George Mason, President of Nash-Kelvinator (Nash and Kelvinator Appliance Company merged in 1937) from just after the merger with Kelvinator (Mason had been with Kelvinator) to just after the merger with Hudson, had a thing for those front fender skirts. I can’t imagine they made for a good turning radius.

Mason strongly believed that the major independent automobile manufacturers would have to merge into one company in order to survive. The Nash-Hudson merger was, according to many automotive historians, the prelude to a merger that would have combined those two companies with Studebaker and Packard, who also merged in 1954. George Mason died not long after the creation of American Motors. His successor, George Romney (Mitt Romney’s father), had other ideas especially since he and Studebaker-Packard head James Nance did not get along at all. Destiny is overrated; if George Mason had lived to consummate the “grand” merger, who knows what the US auto industry would look like today?