Facebook Page

2013 NRHS Convention - The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

by Chris Guenzler

We left Pioneer Park and stopped at the hotel to pick up group members on the way to the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum.

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

This display was in front. I then entered the museum, took my jacket off and placed my bag on the top of the coat rack as we were not allowed to leave items on the bus, then went off to explore this museum with the four other people.

Here was the first of the cars.

Located at the Wedgewood Resort, the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum advertises itself as "The Farthest North Automobile Museum in America!" The museum includes a collection of more than 80 American-made antique automobiles and more than 130 vintage dresses, coats, hats, men's suits, shoes and accessories spanning eight decades. The vast majority of the automobiles have been restored to operating condition and the displays explain the highway history of Alaska, in particular Alaska's post-Gold Rush era. The collection includes rare gems like a 1899 Hertel, 1904 Stevens-Duryea, 1917 Owen-Magnetic, 1921 Heine-Velox, 1933 Auburn V-12 dual ratio custom speedster and 1938 Elto Midget. Several autos are the only models of their marques known to remain, including an 1898 Hay Motor Vehicle, 1906 Compound and 1920 Argonne. More importantly, a number of the cars actually run and during the summer, most evenings feature one or more of the cars driving around the complex.

With the goal of explaining the history of Alaska's highways, the museum also includes the culture that impacted the state. This includes the museum's historic fashion collection, which traces the progression of fashion from the Victorian through early Swing eras. The changes in clothing styles are as dramatic as those in automotive design. The museum's historical fashion clothing collection is consolidated into approximately 60 colorfully displays relating the clothing styles to those of the automobiles. In many cases, the displays demonstrate how the popularity of the automobile influenced fashion.

Also notice the many antique auto photos of Alaska motoring history on the museum walls. More than 70 antique photographs depicting the first automobiles to reach Alaska and its mining camps are on display, including antique the Thomas Flyer that reached Valdez during the famed 1908 New York to Paris Race. Along with this impressive display of antique photographs, the museum includes exhibits and antique movie footage that illustrate the extraordinary challenges faced by Alaska's pioneering motorists. Visitors will see examples of how Alaskans modified vehicles to travel on snow, cut firewood, ride the rails and even power a paddlewheel boat down the Yukon River.

The Collection

So that is the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum's entire collection of cars and women's gowns. It is a most impressive collection and I am glad I came all the way to Alaska to see it. I sat at a table, enjoyed two cans of Coca-Cola and spent my time talking with new and old friends.

This car was designed for women who wanted to socialize with their friends while driving. When it was time I went outside to wait for the bus to take us to the night photo session at Pioneer Park.

The last part of this story!