PIERCE-ARROW MUSEUM BREAKS GROUND
AT GILMORE CAR MUSEUM
The Pierce-Arrow Museum Foundation has broken ground and work has begun in earnest on their all-new facility located at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI.
David Harris, Chairman of the non-profit Pierce-Arrow Museum Foundation, announced during last year's 45th Annual Pierce-Arrow National Meet, that a 6,400-square-foot museum facility would be erected during the fall of 2003 on the Gilmore complex. The new structure will provide the Pierce-Arrow Museum its own permanent home and allow their current exhibit to nearly double in size.
The new Pierce-Arrow building, styled as a traditional barn, will fit in well with the nearly one dozen historic buildings that cover the 90-acre park-like setting. The Gilmore Car Museum, located in the heart of southwest Michigan, is truly a remarkable experience in automotive history. Besides being the home for the Pierce-Arrow Museum, visitors will find over 175 extraordinary vehicles spanning more than 100 years of automotive heritage there. The Gilmore campus also serves as the home to the Classic Car Club of America Museum and the Tucker Automobile Club's Historical Collection and Library.
"The new Pierce-Arrow Museum at the Gilmore will create a spectacular home for one of America's most celebrated automobiles," Harris said.
The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company of Buffalo, New York, well known for producing prestigious luxury cars, actually had very humble beginnings as a manufacturer of birdcages, iceboxes and other household items following the Civil War. By the 1890s, they too, were swept up in the nation's bicycling craze and began producing a full line of bicycles. By 1901 the company entered into the automotive field and within a few years also produced motorcycles and heavy-duty trucks, including Liberty trucks used by the U.S. military during WWI.
In 1928, Pierce-Arrow was acquired by Studebaker, its largest stockholder and the number four automaker behind General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. The merger supplied Pierce-Arrow with an increased dealer network and Studebaker gained a very well respected luxury line.
The depression years took a hard toll on luxury car manufacturers and by 1933 Studebaker had declared bankruptcy and sold the Pierce-Arrow line to a group of businessmen. In a final effort at staying alive, Pierce-Arrow introduced their last all-new model in 1936 and entered the travel trailer market with the Travelodge camper. The company produced its last automobiles in 1938, and then closed its doors.
Today, over 1,100 Pierce-Arrow owners and enthusiasts make up the Pierce-Arrow Society, which was formed in 1957. The Pierce-Arrow Museum Foundation grew out of the group's desire to preserve and share the luxury automaker's rich legacy with future generations to come.
In 1999, the Foundation established its Museum in the Carriage House of the Gilmore Car Museum, where it displayed several Pierce-Arrow autos, a 1905 bicycle and 1912 motorcycle. "We are very pleased to have the Pierce-Arrow Museum partner with us here," said Michael Spezia, Executive Director of the Gilmore Car Museum. "They have become an integral part the Gilmore Car Museum family as we continue to grow."
The new Pierce-Arrow Museum will be ready for the opening of the 2004 season next spring. The Gilmore Car Museum is located in the heart of southwest Michigan, midway between Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, and Grand Rapids. The Museum is open to the public, May through October, daily 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and until 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. To learn more visit www.GilmoreCarMuseum.org or for more information on the Pierce-Arrow Museum visit www.Pierce-ArrowMuseum.org.