Friday, November 5, 2010

The thrill of vic-tow-ry: Chattanooga, Tennessee's International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum

Of all the great tow truck-themed quilts out there...

...I like this one best.

A classy Caddy wrecker

Ernest Holmes, father of the tow truck, and his wife Hattie

No tow truck driver can refuse any request on his daughter's wedding day.

So that's who snatched my cradle.

Certified, for your protection.

Olaf Ekengard, Class of 1986

Russell Iodice, Class of 1995

Al Gregg, Class of 2005

...and the whole gang of 2003.

We'll go anywhere there's a museum devoted to an unusual subject. Barbed wire museum? Been there. Banana museum? You betcha. Tow truck museum? Funny you should ask, because there's an outstanding one in Chattanooga, Tennessee that I had the good fortune to visit last September. The International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum houses restored antique wreckers, towing-themed toys, sculpture, artwork, multimedia, ephemera, quilts, you name it. And there's a Hall of Fame, another one of our favorite eccentric roadside attractions, devoted to the movers and shakers of the recovery industry. Towing is to Chattanooga as cars are to Detroit and beer is to Milwaukee: the world's first wrecker was fabricated only three and a half miles from the museum's address by the Ernest Holmes Company back in 1916. The Hall of Fame has over 300 inductees from around the world who have distinguished themselves in their field. And there's a serious side to towing the layman may not consider: the Tow Truck Association of America estimates 60 operators are killed nationally each year, equal to the number of police and paramedics killed along the roadside. A tribute to these drivers is paid in the form of the Wall of the Fallen and sculpture garden in front of the museum.

I couldn't help but wonder if any of the museum's 10,000 annual visitors have ever broken down in the parking lot and had to call a tow truck. That would be quite a memen-tow.


wendyvee said...

Great museum and I and EPIC BEARD ALERT! :)

Gunnar and Sherry said...

That's right, Wendy. I hope Al never got his beard caught in anything!

Bill said...

As an astute devotee of the strange and unique. you must have a lot of PULL at this place!!! Get It???

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Oh pull-eeze!

Anonymous said...

Would like the story on the fastest wrecker at Talladega Speedway. My father drove a wrecker back in the 70's at the track and I remember him talking about this wrecker.