Posts Tagged ‘RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum’

Vintage Shasta Travel Trailer

1954 Shasta (left) and 2015 reissue of a 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16sc (right)

The RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum’s newest exhibit features a retrospective on the evolution of the iconic brand of Shasta travel trailers, according to Darryl Searer, president, RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall).

The display includes a 1954 Shasta that’s been in the museum’s inventory for years and a 2015 reissue of a 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16sc, courtesy of Mick Ferkey, owner of Greeneway RV, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, and a member of the RV/MH Hall of Fame board of directors.

While the reissue of a 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16sc has the look and style of the 1960s model, it is fully equipped with modern features and appliances, including a full bath.

Searer noted, “Shasta has a rich heritage and is the industry’s longest producer of RVs.  The brand has been in continuous product since its founding in 1941.

“When Californian Robert Gray built the first Shasta ‘house trailer’ to be used as mobile military housing, he had no idea his homes on wheels would play a major role in establishing a billion-dollar industry–or that the little trailers would spark wanderlust in Americans that would carry them across the miles and into the next century.”

The evolution of the Shasta display in the museum actually began when Mark Lucas, president/general manager, Shasta RV, a division of Forest River, noticed a red 1961 Shasta for sale sitting in a front yard, just up the road from his office in Middlebury, Indiana.

Lucas said, “I’ve always been a car guy.  I’ve restored and customized a bunch of older cars.  My wife has a 1960 Cadillac convertible with a white interior.  So when I ran across that 1961 Shasta I envisioned towing the restored 1961 Shasta behind my wife’s car. I bought it and brought it to the factory.”

Shasta President Mark Lucas’ wife’s 1960 Cadillac towing the reissue of a 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16sc

As it turns out, a restoration was not as easy as Lucas first thought.  He continued, “We started to pull it apart and discovered it had aluminum water tank and aluminum water line, so I said, ‘Pull it out and we’ll replace it.’  They said, “It’s got that old style wiring,” so I said, ‘Pull that out and replace it.’

Lucus’ crew kept pulling it apart until they ended up with a bare frame.  He laughed and added, “That wasn’t part of the plan–my wife’s going to be pretty mad.  I got with our engineer Mark Dunnison, and we started researching parts and found that about 80% of what we needed was readily available.”

Dunnison suggested to Lucas that they just build a brand new one for him.

But rather than just building one, they came up with the idea of building 1,941 in honor of Shasta’s first year.

Lucus said, “There were some things that were hard to find.  We had to get a casting made for the Shasta emblem on the front, and we replicated the door handles. Vendors really stepped up for us. For example, Hehr International, an RV window manufacturer, remade those awning style windows for us.”

Lucus unveiled the 2015 reissue of a 1961 Shasta Airflyte on the opening day of 2014 RV Open House, and by noon the next day, the complete product run was completely sold out.

It was during the RV Open House that board member Mick Ferkey noticed the product and fell in love with it.  Ferkey knew the museum already owned 1954 Shasta and thought a display of the 1954 Shasta alongside the reissue of the 1961 could be an exiting and educational exhibit for museum visitors.

The problem was that Shasta limited sales of the new model only to its own dealers, and Ferkey was not a Shasta dealer.

Ferkey talked to Lucas about his idea and ended up convincing him selling him one for display in the museum.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Lucas said.  “One thing that I’m honored to do is to direct such an iconic brand such as Shasta.  So to have our reissue of the 1961 Shasta Airflyte sit beside a 1954 Shasta at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum is exciting, and it’s also humbling.”

Museum visitors will find the new exhibit in the Go RVing Hall and will be able to compare the advances in enhancements to the RV lifestyle between these two historic travel trailers.

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 –
Click photo for Larger Image

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.”


RV Hall Of Fame

RV Hall Of Fame Elkhart Indiana

ELKHART IN — It wasn’t exactly a prayer when Darryl Searer, president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum said on July 3, 2012, Even though contributions ranging from $5 to $2,500 continue to come in, we will need an angel or two who will follow the example of Marcus Lemonis, chairman of Camping World, and Good Sam Enterprises, and Don Wallace, co-founder of Lazydays RV Super Center, who each donated $25,000 toward the Ingram Family’s $100,000 Challenge Grant.

However, a prayer could not have been better answered. Searer’s “angels” have stepped forward.

In the first two weeks of July, more than $30,000 has been donated toward the Ingram Challenge, bringing the total received to date to $90,055, or 90% of the goal. Searer said, That leaves only $9,945 to be raised before the Aug. 31 deadline.”

Those new “angels” included Roy Beck, retired co-founder of The Beck Corporation, and Jason Lippert, chairman of Lippert Components Inc, who each donated $10,000. Bill Fenech, a former Thor Industries executive, also contributed $5,000.

Searer said, “Everyone at the Hall really appreciates all those who have generously contributed to this campaign.”

According to Searer, 54 individuals, companies and organizations have contributed to the $100,000 challenge with donations ranging from $5 to $25,000. To see a complete list of donor so far, visit

“I’m hopeful that we can reach our goal by August 6 which is the date of the Class of 2012 Induction Dinner and Annual Golf Classic,” he added. “It would be a great addition to the celebration to be able to announce during those ceremonies that we have reached our goal ahead of schedule.”

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 deductible.

What a difference a year makes. At last year’s induction dinner, the mood was far from optimistic about the future the RV/MH Hall of Fame. But that has all changed now and the future of the Hall looks great.

“I encourage everyone to attend this year’s induction dinner. Come and see firsthand our progress in bringing the Hall back from the brink,” he explained.

For those who would like to make reservations for the induction dinner and/or the golf classic — or to make a contribution toward the Ingram family’s $100,000 challenge grant — visit the Hall’s secure website at:

Reservations or donations can also be made by mail, phone or fax. If paying by check or money order, make payable to the RV/MH Hall of Fame and send it to:

Ingram Challenge
RV/MH Hall of Fame
21565 Executive Parkway
Elkhart Indiana 46514

For more information, call 800.378.8694.

SOURCE: RV/MH Hall of Fame press release


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