Sunday, July 1, 2012

Your Own Backyard

It isn't necessary to travel very far to find a gem of a place to go.  In fact, most of us have places right in our own backyards that we have likely never visited.

Here in the Seattle/Tacoma area we have several museums that the writer of this blog has not visited.  Something I hope to change sometime between now and retirement.

That being said, if it has to do with automotive, I will likely find a way to see it.  Such is the LeMay Auto Museum located in Tacoma, Washington.

I had never heard of Harold LeMay or his collection until a couple of years ago.  I have lived 5 miles from Tacoma for years and yet was blind to this piece of local history.  Harold LeMay was a refuse collector in the Tacoma area taking a one truck route and building it into the massive LeMay Refuse company.  His passion was always automobiles and he started collecting and restoring them in after he returned from his Naval service.  As he built his refuse company through the 50's and 60's, he collect automobiles as well as signs, oil cans, toys, dolls, oil fixtures, farm equipment and on and on.  He amassed such a collection of vehicles that he was in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest personal collection of automobiles in the world.  The value of the collection is unbelievable.  Everyone can relate to many of the vehicles that are on display.  The vacations, family trips, picnics and emotional ties in vehicles that help to build America.

For several years, Harold and Nancy LeMay purchased property though out the Parkland area of Tacoma.  He stored his cars in many of the buildings on the properties that he owned.  Once a year the family would open the properties and host a car show that allowed the public to visit and view the collection.  So  much stuff was stored in the buildings that one day was not enough to see it.  Some of the collection is in need of restoration while others look like they were purchased and parked.  Zach and I spent a day taking buses between the properties and viewing the collections a few years ago.  At that time we first became aware of the families dream to build a museum to house a portion of the collection.

Early in June 2012 the families dream came true and the LeMay Museum open next to the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington.  The building is an ultra modern facility that has four stories that house 15 different collections as well as a cafe and gift shop.

This past Saturday, Zach, a personal family friend and I viewed the museum for the first time.  I took several hundred photos and will share some of them with you over the next several days.  If you love automobiles you have to see this museum.

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