Saturday, May 30, 2009

What is It?

This seat was dropped of as a donation. I think we were closer than the land fill (he he). It is interesting construction as you can see, with the straw backing under the horse hair. It has metal sides and lower back, arm rests that were upholstered, and set up on springs front and rear. It has a storage area under the bottom of the seat accessed by lifting out the lower cushion.

My opinion: (for what its worth) is that it may have been on a very early truck, or piece of equipment. My thoughts are that a wagon would have had wooden sides, and I don’t recall having seen a buggy with a compartment under the seat. Understand I didn’t grow up with buggies, horses yes, but not buggies, so if you have an idea what it is click on the word comment below and give me your idea’s, because someone out there had to have rode in one of these at one time.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Five Days to Opening!

Progress continues on the museum with a flurry of activity on the outside of the building. Curbs are being poured, the parking lot is getting prepped for paving, trees are being trimmed and nearby woods cleaned.

On the inside is the same flurry of activity (only lots less dust) with the hanging of all the very LARGE pictures and last minute details to be ready to open the doors to the public on June 1st.
The last of the air handling duct work was finished this morning and I can stop putting so many miles on the cars, having to move them back and forth so the work crews have unimpeded access. In the next couple days we'll be doing the final setting of cars for the opening. We'll have about 50 cars on the floor to start, with a few 'drivers' set aside for cruising around the hotel grounds.

Be sure to watch Channel 11 (Fairbanks) on Thursday night for a story about the museum.


Friday, May 22, 2009

New Addition

We are happy to report that we just received one of the original Tom Gibson Stage Line vehicles that was used to transport passengers along the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail. It's a 1916 Dodge touring car that is still in its original, unrestored condition. It is being generously loaned to the Museum by the owners, Don and Ray Cameron and David Stone, of Ester AK. The engine is currently out and being rebuilt and will be installed this fall. Our goal is to have the car back in operable condition by the spring of 2010.

It is great to see some of the accessories that were added to the car to adapt it to the needs of the time, such as a luggage rack on the rear, tie downs under the running boards, and spacers under the front springs to provide more body ground clearance.

This car is a great piece of Alaska history and can now be enjoyed by all who come to visit. If you know the whereabouts of any cars that came to Alaska prior to 1940, please let us know!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Charter Docents

Twenty-five volunteers just completed our first-ever docent training program. The four classes covered a range of topics, from Alaska motoring history to designing an interesting tour. About half of the docents have now entered our "Road Crew" program. These lucky folks are being trained to operate several of the museum cars and will soon be driving them around the grounds of Wedgewood Resort in the evenings.

MANY thanks to these wonderful volunteers! If you are interested in becoming a docent, please print out the application on our website and mail or fax it to me. We'll probably hold another training session this summer.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thanks for the support!

On Saturday, Fountainhead Development hosted a large private reception to thank and recognize everyone who has made this museum possible. Volunteers and dedicated employees worked up to the last minute polishing cars, hanging banners, and sweeping the floors.
Although we are still awaiting a few cars and the signage is not yet complete, the museum sparkled and guests raved. Over 300 people shared stories and excitement while wandering though the paths of autos and historic Alaskan photos. Old time music -- big band, swing -- played in the background and several people dressed in vintage clothing to add to the historic ambiance. Darryl and the Wedgewood catering staff served an awesome array of appetizers and drinks. In fact, the food was so good, I'm pretty sure there weren't any leftovers.
Over the next couple of weeks, everyone will be hard at work completing the finishing touches in preparation for June 1st -- the official opening!

Pictured above are Barb Cerny, who has been working on the antique clothing collection, and Willy Vinton, museum manager.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Coneheads in Canada

Museum docent Ron Allen and I went to Ontario Canada earlier this week to review, package and send home several of our Museum vehicles being restored outside of Toronto. On the last day of our stay we had a few hours before gettting on the plane and decided to visit the 'Canadian Automotive Museum' in Oshawa, Ontario. Now, I'm not quite sure how to describe the Museum building itself other than to say it is a historic building of original charm and character. They were likely quite limited in their lighting ability by the nature of the buildings' electrical system. But that being said, they have a very nice and unusual collection of vehicles - along with a funhouse mirror. :-)

Among their more unusual nameplates were -
1914 Galt - A gas/electric series hybrid that was designed concurrently with the (U.S.) Entz - the precursor to our Owen Magnetic.
1925 Brooks - A Steam powered vehicle modeled after the Stanley technology. The company turned out to be very short-lived, but their steamer unit was smartly packaged in a very stately, and large, vehicle.
1918 Chevrolet 490 - This typical Chevy was fitted with an unusual aftermarket snowmobile package that was far less sophisticated than our 'Snow Flyer' Model T - but very interesting to say the least.
One other namplate you won't typically find, outside of the Fountainhead Museum, was a 1911 Cartercar.

Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to fully appreciate and review the history of the vehicles on display. And I really could have spent alot more time admiring and photographing their very nice collection of Rolls'. I really was not expecting to see so many Pre-War Rolls Royce vehicles, not to mention an Isotta Fraschini, Bentley 3-litre, Hispano Suiza, Vauxhall, '08 De Dion Bouton and of course numerous rare 'Canadian Manaufactured' nameplates that you just don't see everyday.

And last but not least, honorable mention should be recognized for their 'Historical Spark Plug Display'. Now I should tell you (more like warn you) that we are working on a spark plug display of our own. Numerous people (to say the least) have been skeptical of how to make a spark plug display that is actually interesting and informative - and there has been not less than a few good jokes said about it. But the sparkplug display at the CAM was without question as elegant and informative as you will ever find. Ours won't be as elegant, but it will be 'interactive'. So if you're checking it out and Willy says, hold your hand right here while I give this generator a crank, you might want to pass on his offer.... :-)

Derik Price

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Moving In!

Great news! We've started moving the first automobiles into the Museum. The guys have driven or trailered about 20 vehicles over so far, and now they are hurrying to beat what looks like an approaching rain squall. With some automobiles in that huge space it's actually starting look like a real car museum in there! We're especially pleased with how good the flooring looks under the cars and how well the track lighting works.

Many thanks to all the members of the Vernon L. Nash Antique Car Club for helping us move cars (not that driving a couple of 30s Packards is hardship duty, eh Rick?).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Construction Update

I stopped by the museum at 7:45 AM today and there was a flurry of activity already in progress. More than half of the flooring has been installed in the main exhibit hall, the new doors are up, kitchen cabinets are in place, and workers were unpacking bulbs to install in the track lighting. We also have a crew building a replica front of the old Sourdough Roadhouse, using logs salvaged from an old cabin at Harding Lake. We plan to park our 1911 Everitt car in front of the roadhouse and let visitors climb into it and have their picture taken. We have some old-time clothing folks can wear but we are still looking for a few pre-1930 suitcases or small trunks to complete the scene.

The security system gets installed in the next few days and we’ll start moving cars in after that. While there is still a lot to finish before the museum’s June 1 opening, we’ve accomplished quite a bit in the last few weeks. It’s pretty exciting to see it all coming together!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Cars Have Arrived!

This morning five more cars arrived in town for the museum--four rare beauties and a whimsical 1917 Model T Snow Flyer. First off the truck was our 1906 Compound, which has a veeeeery interesting engine and is the only Compound left in the world. This car received one of Harrah's Gold Star restorations when they had it and it looks fabulous. The Compound was followed by two of our prettiest early cars and the only ones of their kind left in existence: a 1906 Franklin Type D Landaulette (above right) and a 1903 Toledo gasoline-powered touring car. The last car out was a striking 1932 Chrysler Custom Imperial Series CL Convertible Sedan (lower right). The CL model was built in limited numbers from 1932-1933 and is regarded by many as the greatest of all Chryslers. We certainly are awed by its elegance, fine lines and smooth purring engine!

All of these are wonderful additions to our collection and we can't wait to share them with the public. Many thanks to members of the Vernon L. Nash Antique Car Club for helping us off-load these babies today!

Nancy DeWitt