Sunday, June 16, 2013

GILMORE CAR MUSEUM - America's Signature Collection

During the month of June we will be using South Haven, MI as our base to visit places throughout southwest Michigan, and occasionally we talk to people who suggest places we would never have heard about.  One such place, Gilmore Car Museum, is located between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek in Hickory Corners, about 2 hours away from South Haven.
Back roads of SW Michigan

Lake on back roads of SW Michigan

Heartland of America - rural SW Michigan

Old Gospel Church - 1888 - near Hickory Corners, MI

Farm near Hickory Corners, MI

Farm in Hickory Corners, MI
  I'm thinking...Hmmmm, another car museum!  And it is slap dab in the middle of what they call "heartland".  In the South we call that "in the middle of nowhere".  RV was excited, and painstakingly and carefully mapped out our day trip.  The trip through the "middle of nowhere" was beautiful, and every turn revealed something more beautiful and surprising about Michigan to both of us.  
Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners, MI

Gilmore Car Museum - Hickory Corners, MI

Gilmore Car Museum - Entrance

Model A Ford Museum

Gilmore Car Museum - Exhibition Barns
The Gilmore Car Museum is one of the top 5 car museums in America.  My initial response would have been, "Why don't you go enjoy and I'll wait out here?"   However, once you arrive at this quaint little two-lane road with signs directing you to the entrance, your attention and curiosity is immediately drawn to the beautiful barns and vast brick buildings on about 90 acres of meticulously manicured lawns and flower gardens.  The person who began to bring all of this together was the former CEO of Upjohn Pharmaceuticals, Donald S. Gilmore, and his wife, Genevieve.  In 1963, she gave him a 1920 Pierce-Arrow (project car) as a birthday gift and the hobby soon grew into a collection of over 30 automobiles (which is now over 400 automobiles, many on loan from exclusive collectors).
1935 Deusenberg - Gilmore Car Museum

Gilmore Car Museum

Gilmore Car Museum

Gilmore Car Museum

Gilmore Car Museum

1955 Cushman - Model 711 Highlander
(Just like RV had when he was 13 years old)
Today, the site includes 8 historic barns, a recreated 1930s service station, a small town train station, an original historic roadside diner, and nearly 3 miles of paved roads.  Several museums within the compound are the Classic Car Club of America Museum, Pierce-Arrow Museum, Franklin Collection, Cadillac-LaSalle Club Museum, Model A Ford Museum, Tucker Historical Museum, and Checker Motors Archive.  
Pierce-Arrow Museum

1941 George & Sally's Blue Moon Diner

1930s Shell Gas Station
All that room to freely roam around, not to mention Fords, Cadillacs, Duesenbergs and Packards, muscle cars, motorcycles and a Tucker -  before we knew it, we had spent 3 unforgettable hours and want to go back again someday!   
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