Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Visit to the Four States Auto Museum in Texarkana.

Texarkana boasts a crossroads of great highways - US Highways 67, 71 and 82 all bisect the town. It's a great place to pull in and check out some fantastic automobiles from the 20th century,

Follow our research-slash-epic road trip on Instagram with the hashtag #SpringBreakOn71, here.

The Four States Auto Museum in downtown Texarkana Spans an old storefront on Laurel Street across from a set of brand new lofts. Within, every wall is covered with every bit of automotive memorabilia you could imagine - gas station signs, posters, automotive part displays, neon signs and license plates.  On either side of the asphalt-like center aisle you'll find classic automobiles - 22 in all - showcasing some of the finest examples of preserved and still working cars, trucks and station wagons from bygone eras.

The museum was founded in 2004 as a place to preserve, collect, exhibit (including operate) and interpret a collection of automobiles, auto transportation equipment, related historical artifacts, documents, and photographs. The collection includes automobiles and auto equipment, archival materials and objects related to autos and automotive history. 

But why would a seven year old girl be interested in such a place?  Oh, you'd be surprised.

When we arrived, Hunter immediately recognized a wall phone (which, considering its era, is pretty surprising) and a gas pump from the 1950s.  She waned a little on the Studebaker Wagon until I started talking about traveling in a station wagon back in the day.  The idea of kids loose in a vehicle without seatbelts is almost as foreign to her as the idea of a padded tailgate you could ride on (we'll be talking about Tailgater's Burger Company in Hope, soon, where she first realized what a tailgate was).

She was a bit overwhelmed by the names and dates.  However, a little talk about car companies got her excited, especially when she broke herself up giggling when she pronounced Ford "fjord."  For those who may not know, that sounds more like fy-OORD.  

She laughed.  She laughed a lot.

So we got to talking about Henry Ford, the Model A and the Model T and the assembly line.  And she listened.  And suddenly, she started making a lot of connections.  Fords, Chevys and Dodge vehicles became something she could relate to, and she started recognizing and talking about the gas company signs on the wall.

And then she asked me straight out why Galaxie was spelled wrong.


This child.

There were all sorts of neat things to discover within the Four States Auto Museum.  The hood ornaments, all very different, were intriguing.  Superman's phone booth changing room.  I had to explain what an eight-track tape was to her, but
she took it all in stride.

And in the end, it was not the Galaxie or the Studebaker or the old Model As and Ts that got Hunter's attention.  It was this.

Hunter fell in love with a little Nash Rambler Metropolitan (thank you, Jerry, for the correction!).


I'm going to have to play her this song now.


\
I also like the parking meters.  For those not in the know, the first Park-O-Meter was installed in Oklahoma City in 1935.  They were built for some time in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK - but in 1963 the operation was moved to Russellville, and today POM International still makes parking meters
there.

There are always 22 cars at the Four States Auto Museum, but those cars are changed out every three months, so there's always something new to see.  The museum is also a
hub for automotive enthusiasts who plan events in the area.  Next year, the Smokey and the Bandit Run will come through again.  And at any random time, any particular car club might drop in.

The museum is run on donations but yes, you can visit it for free.  It's open seven days a week.  You'll find more information here.


Last places visited:  Fouke Monster Mart
And Allen's Burger Center in Fouke

Read about El Chico's Arkansas connection
Our overnight accommodations in Texarkana at the Hampton Inn, room 400
Also, Elve's Peanut Patties
And eventually, Karen's Krystals in Lockesburg
Cypress Restaurant (or the Five Percent) in De Queen
and Cossatot River State Park Natural Area near Wickes






3 comments:

  1. When I-49 opened from I-30 to US 71, the Four States Car Club showed up with a lot of their cars and were the first ones to drive the new highway.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry Kat. That was a Nash Metropolitan. The Rambler was the bigger Nash. My first car was a '57 Metro. Enjoy your posts. A lot.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I’m able to bookmark your site and show the kids check out up here generally. look here

    ReplyDelete

Be kind.