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Crawford Auto Aviation Museum - Cleveland, OH


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After a complete renovation, the Crawford Auto and Aviation Museum celebrates it grand opening today.

I'm anxious to see how the cars are displayed in the newly renovated space.

Crawford Auto Aviation Collection in Northeastern Ohio: Western Reserve Historical Society

Anyone attending the ceremony today? I hope to be there next weekend.

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  • 1 year later...

Third try is a charm.

I've been to the Crawford Museum 3 times since their grand reopening and this time the entire exhibit is open. It's great to see all the cars shown in a bright new area. I visited with my 'dream' car (a 26 Chandler) and saw 2 Chandlers with a Cleveland in between. How can you go wrong with that!!!

Got to see an early Stearns Knight (also on my to BUY list). I'm thinking I'll buy a Stearns, Willys or Falcon Knight car as my next project. I'm fascinated with the Knight Sleeve-Valve engine design and really like the classy lines of the late 20's. I love the Chandler but I'm also realistic about how much $$$ I have to spend. OK, back to what I saw at Crawford Museum.....

There was an early (66 AMC?) prototype that had a rumble seat. A really interesting NON SKID tire on the 1916 Chandler. I never saw a tire embossed with words on the tread before. There was the only original Bumble Bee Curtis Plane that survived and an early White Steam auto that Mr. Crawford bought for the storage fees (10 or 20 years of fees) back in the late 80's. He created a fantastic auto portfolio of Northeastern Ohio built cars.

Thought I'd share some of the photos with everyone.

post-59118-14314247287_thumb.jpgNON SKID Tire.

post-59118-143142472817_thumb.jpg1929 Ford
















Edited by wmsue (see edit history)
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No photo of the blue Minerva with the dual rear wheels. I was taking pictures of that car one morning and the curator/director of the museum came out and told me a lot about the car and then walked around and showed me some other things including the cut-away We had a nice enoyable conversation. That was in May of 2005.

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I was there back in the 70s and they had a Crosley FarmOroad on display. I don't see it listed on their web site so I assume it was sold in one of their auctions.

wmsue, did you notice if it was there?

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I didn't see the Crosley or the Minerva with dual rear wheels. I'm not sure if some of the collection is still in storage or not. I do remember reading that some of the collection was sold to finance repairs to the building for the Western Reserve Historical Society. Mr. Crawford was the President of Thompson Products which later became TRW and collected all sorts of vehicles that had roots in NE Ohio. Facing a huge debt, the historical Society sold about 20 cars and created a huge controversy. Mrs. Crawford was very upset about the sale but did resolve to donate 12+million$ to the WRHS to preserve the collection before she died. The Crosley and the Minerva could have been part of that sale, could be in storage, or I just missed them. I don't know for sure. I do remember reading a few years ago that the cars were shipped to Medina, Ohio for storage while the building was remodeled.

I saw an early stainless steel Lincoln Continental in the basement collection that I swear DID NOT have a smashed right rear quarter panel when I saw it last. We were in the museum for an hour or two and only saw one other couple besides the two curators that kept an eye on us. There wasn't an opportunity to talk to anyone. When I was there last (and the basement collection was not open) the gentleman at the entrance was very talkative and interesting. We chose to come back when the entire display was available. He could have told many stories. Hopefully he's there next time.

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When was the sale? I recall there being one but don't recall when. The Minerva was there in 2005. I visited the museum on Friday and then drove to Greensburg and went to the AACA show there on Saturday in the pouring down rain. Had to leave the show about 2:30 to hurry to a meeting in Virginia that same evening and sure enough as I was going to my car to leave the rain stopped and the sun came out. I had to keep my foot in the carburetor as the saying goes but managed to get to Covington, VA by 6:00pm without a ticket but it is risky. About the Minerva, it was built for a barber that established a church for ladies only and got rich from it. The car had two over-stuffed seats in the back like living room chairs, silver door handles, and real ivory control knobs. The curator was quite proud of it. I think he told me the car weighed over 8,000 pounds.

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The biggest sale was in November of 1990, and it was a lot more than 20 cars. More like 50-60. A lot of stuff that had been in the Thompson Products collection since the late 40's/early 50's. There have a been a couple smaller sales since then. The list of what has been sold would make a top museum in itself. A totally original Issota Fraschini towncar, a totally original 1936 Packard Twelve coupe, a totally original (except for one repaint) 1936 MB cabriolet A, an early (circa 1910) MB chassis equipped with a Hispano Suiza aircraft engine what was used for racing in the teens. You don't sell stuff like this and expect to maintain credibility.

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)
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I checked out their website and the Minerva is still listed. Also listed is an early 30's Cadillac that I thought was amazing. I posted a photo of it but here's the photos of both cars from the website. It looks like the photo of the Minerva was taken in a warehouse. I see garage doors in the background of the photo.

post-59118-143142476669_thumb.jpgI will check on the Minerva next time I'm there.

The Cleveland Art Museum, Botanical Gardens, History Museum and the WRHS museum are all of the same street, East Boulevard. A short half mile or so to the east is Little Italy. A great place to eat. Since my wife and I are both art teachers and I like old cars, we find ourselves in Cleveland often. She tolerates my old car hobby for a good meal in Little Italy. WIN...WIN


Edited by wmsue (see edit history)
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My son has been living in Cleveland and is now in a doctorate program at Case-Western. Living in Erie Pa, I would run up to Cleveland a couple of hours early when I would bring him home for holidays. I also attended one of their "Monday Night Out" affairs when I was a young member of the Presque Isle Region. I can recall one time in particular when I was introduced to the memorable Henry Austin Clark. Fabulous place !!!

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