Posts Tagged ‘Manufactured Housing’

RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum

Click photo for larger image

You don’t need a mansion on the hill to be somebody. It’s not the house but the people inside it.” That’s what Stephen Lee Duncan of Aurora, Colorado, told Swiss citizen and photojournalist Frimmel Smith in 1998. Duncan was among many people Smith interviewed and photographed in conjunction with the American Institute of Architecture to create a traveling exhibit entitled “Wheel People” which tells the story of Americans who choose to live in manufactured homes in deference to site built housing.

The “Wheel People” exhibit was created in 1998-99 by Smith with the cooperation of the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum and many state manufactured housing associations.  She identified people throughout the country to interview and photograph and traveled for over one year assembling their stories into this exhibition.

After displaying the exhibit at locations around the country from Washington DC, Richmond, Virginia; Biloxi, Mississippi; Chicago, Illinois and others, Smith donated the entire exhibit to the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana.

'Wheel People' Exhibit at RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum

‘Wheel People’ Exhibit at RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum –
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Darryl Searer, president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum, said, “The ‘Wheel People’ exhibit is an excellent addition to our manufactured housing collection.  It not only traces the evolution of manufactured housing from trailers to mobile homes and finally to manufactured homes, it also shows the diversity of those who choose to live in homes on wheels.

“From Maine to California, occupants include people of all ages and incomes, from college students to senior citizens; America’s wealthy and her poor as well as white and blue collar workers, artists, entrepreneurs, farmers, and health care professionals.

“Visitors to the museum will be able to tour historic examples of homes on wheels, experience the ‘Wheel People’ exhibit and then step outside to visit a modern manufactured home currently being constructed east of the museum facility—we expect the home, loaned and erected by Fairmont Homes, to be completed and opened to the public in early November.

“The RV and manufactured housing industries sprang from the same root, but evolved into two separate industries – recreational travel and affordable housing.  It’s impossible to tell the story of one industry without including the other.

“We believe the ‘Wheel People’ exhibit adds an important and interesting chapter to our goal of telling our story and interpreting our heritage.  Even those who have visited the museum in the past, I encourage them to come by again as our exhibits are always changing and evolving.”


The RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum (Hall) announced that during the first month of its fund raiser to raise $100,000 in donations to meet the Ingram family’s $100,000 Challenge, the Hall has received $55,955 in contributions, according to Darryl Searer, president of the Hall.

In an act of continuing generosity toward the Hall, the Robert “Boots” Ingram family has offered a $100,000 matching “Let’s Pay off the Bank” challenge, if a like amount can be raised by individual donations before the end of August 2012.

“Boots” Ingram, founder of Teton Homes and former member of the Hall’s board of directors passed away in 2010, and part of his legacy is his unprecedented support and generosity toward the Hall.

According to Searer, individual donations have ranged from $5.00 to $25,000.

Searer said, “We are excited about the success of this fund-raising effort so far in trying to reach our goal of $100,000 in donations before the deadline, August 31, 2012. This success, to a large degree, is because of two $25,000 donations — one by Marcus Lemonis, chairman of Camping World, Inc., and Good Sam Enterprises, LLC.; and the other by Hall of Famer Don Wallace, co-founder of Lazydays RV Super Center.

“We hope other industry members who have become financially able in the RV and Manufactured Housing industries will feel challenged by the contributions of Lemonis and Wallace and step up and do their part in helping us preserve our industries’ heritage.

“And while we need and appreciate these larger contributions, I am inspired by the willingness of individuals, dealers and groups who have reached into their pockets to do their part. We need everyone’s help if we are going to meet this challenge.”

The RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum

The RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum

One-hundred percent of the challenge grant contributions will go toward paying down the Hall’s bank loan at 1st Source Bank and all gifts are tax deductable.

Searer added, “While we are encouraged by our early success, we still need to raise $44,045.00 before the deadline.

For those who would like to make a contribution toward the Ingram family’s $100,000 challenge grant, the Hall has made it easy to contribute. Contributions can be made through the Hall’s secure web site, or by mail, phone or fax. If paying by check or money order, make payable to the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

ELKHART, Ind., March 14, 2012 –The RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum (Hall) has restructured its financial obligations with its secured investors and is now on a path to long-term stability, thanks primarily to the generosity of the family of longtime benefactor Boots Ingram (deceased), according to Chairman of the Board Bill Garpow.

The RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum

The RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum

“The RV/MH Hall of Fame will live on,” Garpow said. “Our glorious building will remain open for years to come. Our history will continue to be preserved. It’s a day of triumph and celebration for the RV and manufactured housing industries, a day made possible by the continued generosity of the Ingrams.”

Under terms of the agreement between the Ingram family and the Hall, former treasurer & Hall board member Darryl Searer of Ultra- Fab Products, Inc, and Hall of Fame member, will assume the position of president and chief operating officer of the Hall, on a volunteer basis. The Hall’s current staff remains in place.

Darryl Searer as president and chief operating officer of the RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum

Darryl Searer of Ultra- Fab Products, Inc, is a Hall of Fame member, former treasurer & Hall board member. With more than 50-years experience in the industry and his years of devotion to the RV/MH Hall of Fame makes Searer an ideal candidate to bring the Hall of Fame out of its financial crisis and lead it into the future.

Searer said, “This day has arrived because of the hard work of a dedicated group of Hall Executive Committee members who fought for the Hall’s future despite many obstacles and because both First Source Bank of Elkhart and Tony Ingram and his siblings wanted to see the Hall survive and came up with a solution that allows that to happen. I’m sure one person smiling down on all of us today is Boots Ingram, a friend to this organization like no other.”

The Hall has been facing a collective obligation of $4 million with the majority of it due in mid-2012. The restructuring plan allows for the bulk of the obligation to be paid over a term that reduces the monthly payments to what the Hall can afford. First Source has significantly lowered its interest rate and restructured its agreement. The Ingram family forgave overdue interest obligations, agreed to forgo any payments or interest on its loan until after the bank is fully paid in 2016 and has agreed to donate one dollar for each two dollars of principal that is retired each month by the scheduled payments beginning in August of 2016 or by prepayments.

The Ingrams also announced a $100,000 matching “Let’s Pay off the Bank” gift if a like amount can be raised by individual donations before the end of August 2012.

“What the Ingrams and our banking partner and our dedicated officers have given the Hall is a new life — a chance to survive during these turbulent economic times when our industry has suffered and when contributions to museums and other types of organizations that depend on contributions have seen major reductions,” said Garpow. “This new plan allows us to get to the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“This is step one,” Searer said. “We are now going to go out to the other pioneers and leaders who have built their lives around this industry and ask them to follow the inspiration of Boots Ingram and his family and make significant long-term contributions to this wonderful treasure that showcases who we are and how we help Americans discover their country.

“And the new message to contributors is as clear as a summer sky over a mountain campsite — you can contribute knowing your money will not be wasted. The museum is no longer under threat to close. Their contributions will be used to keep the museum open and staffed to meet the hours of operation, to maintain the property and its many historical exhibits, to maintain the library and put on programs for the industry and consumers and to promote attendance and bookings of events. Contributions are greatly needed. Those who contribute can be assured their money will be used smartly and their generosity recognized.”

In conclusion Garpow said, “There were many people who believed that if our industry showpiece closed down, it would cast a dark shadow over us at a time when we need to send out only positive signals. Today we are sending out the most positive of all messages — the sun is shining bright on our beloved home.”

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