Monday, July 4, 2011

A mock 1950s town and a classic car showroom await you in West Line, Mo. Good Time Classics and Memory Lane are pleasant surprises

West Line, Mo., is not a place that you would expect to see much. With a population of about 95 people in 35 households, it doesn't scream "vacation destination".

But when it comes to automotive attractions, sometimes, it's these little places that will surprise you. Such was the case recently when my dad told me there was something I needed to see in the sleepy little town just outside of Louisburg.

There are actually two things in West Line worth seeing. One is the Good Time Classics old car showroom, and the other is the fascinating small-scale mock town called "Memory Lane".

Both are owned by Romaine Dennis, who is the mayor of West Line. Dennis passed a successful plumbing business along to his kids, and now spends most of his time surrounded by interesting old cars in his showroom, or putzing around his little town. Which makes sense; there probably aren't that many pressing political matters to attend to in West Line.

Memory Lane is a really interesting little place. Several storefronts are arranged like a small town from the 1950s. They're made from little utility buildings, but they have windows and doors in them so you can see inside.

The buildings are full of period collectibles and furniture, so inside they look just like the buildings they're supposed to represent. For example, the five-and-dime store is stocked with old cameras, cigars, typewriters, and marbles. The Gulf Oil station is full of tire ash trays, parts displays, and motor oil. The barber shop has an old time barber's chair, adding machine, and even a rotary phone. Every building has hundreds of neat little details.

There is a lot to see outside as well. The Gulf Oil station has vintage gasoline and air pumps, and there's a '56 Ford pickup painted in the old Gulf orange and blue colors. There are even old Burma-Shave signs posted along the perimeter. All of these little details do a lot to transport you back in time.  It'll kind of remind you of a Hollywood movie set.

Then of course, there's the auto showroom. Some of the cars are just being stored for people, like a nice, original looking '51 Oldsmobile.

But others are for sale; most at what appear to be reasonable prices. I really liked the '41 Cadillac Series 63 Sedan. But I also liked his '76 Trans Am. Clearly, it's not easy for me to nail down my favorite type of car.

I haven't really been able to find a website for any of this, so if you want to see it, I guess just get in your car and head south to West Line. Or you could give Good Time Classics a call at (816) 899-2491. No guarantee that anyone will answer--it looks like there's a pretty casual business policy there.

Now, I didn't know I was going to West Line until my dad came by my office on Friday, so unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera. I did have my cell phone, which does sort of capture images. Actually, this is the first time I've ever even tried to take pictures with it. They aren't great pictures, but I mean, they were taken with a phone. I'm a pretty old-fashioned kind of guy, so it seems pretty amazing to me that I got anything at all.  You sure couldn't take pictures with the rotary phone in the Memory Lane Bank.

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