Monday, October 01, 2007

RVs Date Back Nearly to Dawn of Motoring

The RVs on display inside the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart fit together well and are guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of every visitor.

More than 45 recreational vehicles, conversion vans and travel trailers -- from a 1915 Model T Ford pickup with "telescoping apartment" to a George Jetson-like 1974 GMC Motor Home -- are on display, or soon will be, in the cavernous Founders Hall.
The vehicles line a serpentine two-lane road, and all displays feature beautifully restored or mint original condition vehicles.

Visitors can walk over a small wooden bridge, gaze at a simulated lake and listen to piped-in bird songs overhead. Giant blow-up photos of famous national parks and monuments such as the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore inspire, and well-appointed mock campsites, complete with folding chairs, gas grills and awnings, beckon.

"For a lot of our visitors, it's memories of having traveled with their families in units like these when they were growing up," said Al Hesselbart, official historian for the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc., which owns the facility. He notes there are 28 million Americans who own a recreational vehicle or manufactured home.

The RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum moved into its new building in March after being housed in a smaller building in Downtown Elkhart for several years. When completed, it will contain 125,000 square feet of exhibit space.
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