The Harrah Automobile Collection Again

Seeing the Harrah cars recalls the day when inventors in hundreds of locations across the United States created horseless carriages in their own shops. The autos built operated on steam, electricity, and gas. Many tinkerers gave birth to a beloved industry that had made 25,000,000 vehicles by 1925. Automobiles changed the nation. No family wanted to remain carless.

This facility in Reno is dubbed the National Automobile Museum became of the standard it set that others copied to create a veritable nation of car museums. The situation inspired people like Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, and writer Clive Cussler to gather vast collections of cars and other vehicles. Many museums made their cars undrivable by removing the parts that made them go before exhibiting them, but not Harrah. He learned in one of his first purchases of a Maxwell auto the value of knowing before buying, so he established a vast research facility at the place where he first began exhibiting his collection in Sparks, NV. His cars always remained usable. Seeing what is left of his collection in the National Automobile Museum in Reno makes one clearly able to understand the impact of the car on American and world society. Being there is like driving through centuries of innovative auto designs. Many of his cars are exhibited in street settings with period decor nearby. One is left to ponder human design achievements of unsurpassed quality while browsing among his autos. A wander through this museum is a chance to see the best cars produced worldwide in the 20th century until Harrah’s death in 1978. His is truly a horseless carriage collection of unsurpassed quality with many rare and experimental autos included, like the one-of-a-kind and much honored Phantom Corsair seen just below.

Reno’s original biggest little city arch is just outside this museum spanning Virginia Street downtown. The car is at the root of our industrial growth, and millions of Americans worked to develop this industry. I suspect that most people in the USA can name a family member or friend who worked in an automobile factory.

I will complete this series on the National Automobile Museum and Bill Harrah’s remarkable car collection another day. I learned in this museum that Bill Harrah was a Reno/Tahoe phenomenon. He did not expand to Las Vegas and its famous Strip until 1973. He opened his first casino in downtown Reno in 1946, and by 1955 he expanded his growing empire to nearby Lake Tahoe. By 1973 his Lake Tahoe casino/hotel was the largest complex of its kind in Nevada. He made gambling establishments respectable that year by becoming the head of the first gaming company in history to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. There are still 14 Harrah complexes in existence.

Hank

About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road is...today's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

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