Thursday, March 1, 2012

Branson Auto Museum damaged by devastating Midwestern tornado

Living in the Midwest, we are certainly no strangers to the devastation tornadoes can cause. What we may not be used to is having them show up before the end of February. Tuesday night was definitely a bad night. Deadly twisters ripped through Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri. The death toll is at least 13 people. Several more are injured. And the material damage adds up to millions.

It is just hard to imagine that wind can obliterate buildings and structures so thoroughly. The tornado that passed through Harrisburg, Ill., leveled virtually everything in town, killing six people there alone.

So what does any of this have to do with cars? Well, one of the places that experienced severe property damage was the nearby tourist town of Branson, Mo. I like Branson, and even though it is sort of a retiree destination, I actually think it makes a special place to take a family on a budget. And for such a small community, Branson actually has a lot of places and events that appeal to car lovers.

One of those is the Branson Auto Museum, which is located right at the heart of this week's storm damage. I saw pictures of the damaged museum while watching reports on the news, and Branson's tourism website says it is closed pending repairs. We know it boogered up their neat '57 Chevy sign.  I called down there to try and get a little more information, but as you can imagine, no one answered the phone, and so far no one has called me back. Not that I blame them--they have enough to worry about without calling me.

In addition, Branson hosts a huge collector car auction in the fall, they have a toy museum full of car collectables, and they hold local car cruises and shows on a regular basis.

Also, the Dick Clark Theatre (which was also damaged by the tornado this week), used to house '57 Heaven, one of the most awesome car museums I've ever seen. Unfortunately, the collection was sold off at a Mecum auction in 2009, but it's still nice to think that someone thought enough of Branson to have a world-class auto collection there. You can see the photo album of the collection as provided by Mecum by clicking this link.

We're thinking about everyone who suffered damage and loss during this week's devastating storms. Hopefully this isn't a sign of things to come when severe weather season is actually expected to be here.

The photo album below is from my visit to the Branson Auto Museum last summer. With any luck, they'll be back in business soon, so you can go check it out yourself.


  1. I have the teardrop camper and all the diecast cars on display that you took pictures of, I went there Friday but could only drive by I am a founding member there, I called there to and nothing back yet... sure would like to know about things.


  2. Awesome Bill...Nice Trailer and very nice collection of die cast's