Transportation Museum Opening Draws Crowds

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Photos and Videos by Russ Baldwin and Vincent Gearhart

Well over 600 persons attended the grand opening ceremonies for the Big Timbers Transportation Museum in Lamar this past Saturday, June 25.  Planning on the project took the better part of two years, involving modifications to the building and coordinating the various financing partners involved in the construction.

The museum showcases a variety of vehicles used over the decades on the High Plains, including buckboard wagons, a two-runner red sleigh, horse-drawn fire engines and a hearse, as well as more modern, but still antique and classic vehicles dating to the 1920’s and 30’s.  The museum also features a get-away car, similar to the one used in the notorious Fleagle gang shoot-out in the early history of Lamar.

On Friday morning, half a dozen antique cars owned by the Earl Harper family from Holly, Colorado, were off-loaded from semi-trucks and carefully rolled into place in the museum.  The family donated the cars to be on view from the Harper estate.  His grandson said Earl Harper found them in pastures and draws and rebuilt them from the ground up over the decades.  He said the family wanted to keep them together as a collection and contacted local museum officials about loaning the cars for display.

Welcoming remarks to the grand opening crowd were delivered by Prowers County Historical Society President, Bill Elam.  Prowers County Commissioner Henry Schnabel traced the history of the development of the museum project, along with Kathleen Scranton, museum curator, who did much of the grant writing that financed the construction project.   Tim Harris, Region 2 Transportation Director for CDOT listed the means of financing, running from a CDOT grant, ARRA Funds, county matching funds, city contributions and local donations from the Corning and Clark families.  He remarked that he is assuming a statewide transportation post, but would continue to keep Prowers County first in his thoughts.

While music played from Take Five and The Over the Hill Gang, people viewed the old vehicles in the new museum, enjoyed hot dogs and ice cream and reviewed artifacts from the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, brought in for viewing by Chuck and Sherri Bowen.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEducationEntertainmentFeaturedHistoryLamarRecreationTourism


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