Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

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Indiana Museums - Aviation, Military, Automotive and Fire

Wayne County Historical Museum
Richmond, IN
Date Visited:  9-10-2014

The Wayne County Historical 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 on the National Road.




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 US.


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.




This 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 the company.


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.
 

 

 


 
Home  Indiana Museums    Indiana Tanks on Outside Display   The Beginning    Revisions   First Flight of P-38F Glacier Girl  
USS Theodore Roosevelt    WWII Aircraft Manufacturing Sites    Gateguards
 2007 Airshows   2008 Airshows  22009 Airshows   2010 Airshows    2011 Airshows    2012 Airshows   2013 Airshows   2014 Airshows    2015 Airshows  2016 Airshows    2017 Airshows 
Aviation Museums of the Pacific Northwest
   Display Helicopter Locations   CAL FIRE   PV-2 Harpoon Photos     F6F Hellcat Photos
   Warbird Sightings   WWII US Air-Air Victories   Guest Photos    Indiana Warbirds   Featured Photos  Other Items   Links

Historic Sites   Historic Forts   Historic Texas Independence Sites   Pre-Historic Sites   Historic Manhattan Project Sites   GM Heritage Center


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