Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum
Ernie Pyle WWII Museum
Five Points Fire Museum
Firefighters Museum Freeman
Army Airfield Museum
Hoosier Air Museum
Indianapolis Fire Museum McClain
Museum of the Soldier
Military History Center/Automotive and Carriage Museum National
Model Aviation Museum
Rolls-Royce Heritage Center, Allison Branch
Ropkey Armor Museum
Indiana Museums -
Aviation, Military, Automotive and Fire
County Historical Museum
Date Visited: 9-10-2014
The Wayne County
Museum in downtown Richmond, IN has varied collection of historical
items relating to the history of this part of Indiana that is right on
the Ohio border. The local historical society that operates the
museum has gathered many items that are part of the history of this
area. Long before I-70 was built, which passes to the north of
town, the National Road was opened in 1833, and now know as US 40 that
the Museum is located on, saw thousands of persons come through to
settle in Indiana or move on into Illinois and locations farther west.
The Museum has many items not only from the early days but up into the
early 20th Century.
This by no means a flashy museum in a new, big, expensive building, that
while it may look good on the outside, is somewhat deficit in real
history displays on the inside. This museum is located in an old,
1821 brick building that is historical in itself. Inside there are
not flashy, multimedia displays associated with today's more modern
sterile museums. But this museum has character, and the staff of
the Historical Society have preserved not only early Indiana artifacts,
but those of the local area. Another little known museum with true
historical significance in the state of Indiana.
The main building for the museum was originally the Friends Meeting
House and was donated to the Historical Society by that group. The
Friends are more commonly known as Quakers, and this building was
constructed by them in 1821 as their headquarters and the location of
their yearly meetings. Made of brick and located in what then was
mostly forest, the building was in itself was an amazing accomplishment
for the period. The largest group of Quakers in Indiana were
located in the area.
Stepping into the museum with its high ceiling one finds there is a room
for an Indiana built Davis aircraft. Also, as can be seen, the
museum is full of historical items from a bygone era.
One has to be a certain age to remember this type lawnmower and how to
operate it. Today's lawnmowers come with manuals with multiple
pages of instructions and safety warnings. There was no manual or
safety instructions for this. My dad just pointed at ours and
said" Go out and mow the lawn."
This Davis D-1 was the first of 53 of its type built in Richmond from
1929 to 1937.
A 1790's era Conestoga Wagon that was built in Lancaster County, PA.
This may be the oldest item in the museum and in my estimation, the one
of the most historical significance, in that it was wagons like these
that the early Indiana pioneers used to bring their possessions westward
In the northeast corner on ground level is this add-on garage. Here the
Wayne County Historical Museum has done an excellent job of collecting
and putting on display automobiles built in Richmond, IN. With the
exception of one automobile, all of the locally built autos are on the
left hand side of the garage.
Nine different automobiles were built in
Richmond between 1902 and 1942. Seven vehicles from four of the
manufacturers are on the left. For the auto historian, this is a
treasure trove of Indiana built cars.
The first automobile on the left, or west side of the garage is this
1907 Richmond Merry Widow runabout.
For each of the Richmond built automobiles I
have included the
information sheet that went with each, as each vehicle is so rare and
little known. As noted, this is one of the oldest original cars in
The key word above is "original". It is obvious the 1907 Richmond
has not been restored.
A restored 1909 Richmond touring car. The company produced automobiles in
Richmond, IN from 1904 to 1917.
Also in the collection is a 1915 Westcott. They were built in Richmond,
IN from 1907 to 1916.
A 1920 Pilot 45. Pilots were built in Richmond from 1909 to 1924.
1918 Davis is one of two in the display.
The second Davis is this 1925 Brougham.
Here is another Westcott, a 1908 and it may be the first one produced by
Many vehicles of the 1908 era used chains and sprockets for the drive
system. As seen here, the Westcott used a drive shaft with a
universal joint. What is different from more modern vehicles is
the red cylinder or sleeve that contains the driveshaft back to the
differential. The item on top of a the sleeve in the center of the
photo is an oiler. Periodically the owner of the car
would need to crawl underneath and put oil in the reservoir. One
can not say the owner would do it every X number of miles or hours
because there is no speedometer, odometer, or Hobbs meter on the car. Also
note the modern plastic gas filter on the copper gas line, and what
appears to be a cast iron frame. Today
gas lines are steel and frames or steel. One can also see
the bottom of the wood floor.
Engine Number 5, a 1926 Ford Model T fire engine, served with the
Richmond Fire Department.
This 1939 Crosley was one of 5,557 built in Richmond, IN between 1939 and
1942. After WWII, production resumed in Marion, IN from 1946 until
1952, where another 84,844 were built. The Crosley was successful
in the immediate years after the war when there was a shortage of cars
to purchase. But in 1952 only 1,522 were built and the Marion
plant was closed. Also gas was cheap and the post war young
married couples needed larger cars for the children of the baby boom.
The end of Crosley production in 1942 ended
auto manufacturing in Richmond, IN. While not many were built in
the few years of production, the Crosley has, in my estimation, taken on
somewhat of a cult status among collectors in the state. I run
across them at various events in the state.
Outside there are more displays and historical buildings. Built in
1823 and moved to this location in 1967, this log cabin of was the home
of Quaker Solomon
Dickinson, his wife and his seven children. It was typical of the
construction of the houses and businesses of the era, taking advantage
of the forests of the area. Compare the construction of the brick
museum building next to it built in the same time period. It
reminds one more of 18th century Philadelphia colonial construction that
can still be seen in that city. It no doubt stood out as an huge
accomplishment for the early pioneers in Indiana.