Museums: Hershey School ‘limbo’ wagon slated for restoration

One of the Hershey School's 'limbo wagons' is ready for restoration | AACA Museum photo
One of the Hershey School’s ‘limbo wagons’ is ready for restoration | AACA Museum photo

It was in 1959, during the 50th anniversary of the school and home for orphaned boys founded by Milton S. and Catherine Hershey, that the decision was made to provide a more home-style environment. Part of that change included purchasing a fleet of station wagons.

To replace the more formal school buses that had been used for student travel between housing units and the school, the school purchased a fleet of 1962 Chevrolet Biscayne wagons. Those wagons went to Stageway, a coachbuilder in Cincinnati, for conversion to hold a driver and as many as 13 students at a time. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Motor Muster at Greenfield Village

 Photos by Larry Edsall

Depending on the whimsy of the editors of your favorite dictionary, a “muster” can be a collection, a gathering together, a round up, a representative specimen, or an act of assembling for formal military inspection.

The annual Motor Muster held each Father’s Day weekend at Greenfield Village, the Disney-style small town that Henry Ford created by mustering historic buildings from around the country, would seem to fit all of those definitions.

Indeed, there’s even one area of the village reserved for military vehicles, provided, of course, that like all other vehicles on display, they were manufactured between model years 1933 and 1976. Greenfield Village stages a separate show — the annual Old Car Festival in September — for vehicles built from the beginning of the motor age through the 1932 model year.

And while the 800 or so vehicles on display over the course of two days may not be parked with quite military precision, they are aligned in chronological order so that, as you stroll through the village, you can see the evolution of what we drive, at least for the 43 model years represented.

Oh, and it’s not just cars, pickups and delivery vans that are represented. There are bicycles, motor scooters and motorcycles, plus the occasional motor home or camper. And they’re not just parked, but from time to time are invited in groups to parade past a reviewing stand while experts talk about them for the assembled spectators.

Each year there is a featured class. This year — no surprise — it was the Ford Mustang. Hey, this is Greenfield Village, which shares its plot of land with The Henry Ford museum and is pretty much surrounded by Ford’s engineering and design and administrative world headquarters, so celebrating the Mustang’s 50th birthday makes perfect sense.

However, the Motor Muster and Old Car Festival are not Ford-centric cars shows. Sure, Greenfield Village’s fleet of Model Ts circulates, giving visitors rides along the villages streets. But that happens every day here.

What doesn’t happen except two weekends each year are all manner of vehicles parked on the lawns and grassy medians adjacent to such structures as the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop, Thomas Edison’s laboratory, George Washington Carver’s cabin and, speaking of dictionaries, the home of Noah Webster.

Mustangs (what else?) to be featured at Greenfield Village’s Motor Muster

Original Mustang concept and first production car | The Henry Ford
Original Mustang concept and first production car | The Henry Ford

Each summer, two major cars shows are held on the streets, lawns and town square of Greenfield Village, the quintessential Americana small town that Henry Ford assembled in Dearborn, Michigan, by collecting and transplanting historic buildings from around the country.

You want history? Well, the Wright Brothers home is next door to their cycle shop, though no longer in Dayton, Ohio, just around the corner from Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, which originally was located in New Jersey. And just a few steps away is the Logan County Courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law before moving from Springfield, Illinois, to the White House, a structure that somehow escaped Mr. Ford’s moving vans.

Greenfield Village is a wonderful place to experience American life as lived a century or two ago. On a daily basis, you can take a ride in one of Mr. Ford’s Model Ts, and on June 14-15, you can see a variety of automobiles produced from 1933 through the 1977 model years.

This event is the annual Motor Muster. The Old Car Festival for pre-1933 vehicles takes place September 6-7.

As yet another part of the 50th anniversary celebration for the Ford Mustang, the Motor Muster will bring together for the only time this year very special Mustangs — Mustang Serial Number 1, the Ford Mustang concept car and the 1963 Mustang II concept. Serial No. 1 and the original Mustang concept come from The Henry Ford museum; the Mustang II concept is part of the Detroit Historical Society collection.

That Mustang trio will be showcased among some 850 classic cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and a large array of historic military vehicles.

As a special feature this year, Record Hop USA! will take place at 7 p.m. June 14 with visitors invited to join a 1950s-style dance show and try their skills as the Mashed Potato, Watusi, Mambo and Twist with live music on the Showmobile Main Stage.

For more information, visit the www.thehenryford.org/events/motorMuster.aspx website.