ROSCOE (WREX) — Just two weekends remain to see historical artifacts and memorabilia only found in our region at the Historic Auto Attractions Museum. That's because it will soon close for the 2021 season.
Historic Auto Attractions is something you have to see to believe. Cars and carriages found inside this hidden gem were actually sat in by people like Ulysses S. Grant, President Eisenhower and so much more. The museum in Roscoe will surprise you at every turn with artifacts like furniture from the White House, movie memorabilia from Cleopatra, Bonnie and Clyde, Gone with the Wind and more.
What all started as a passion for collecting cars, turned into a 20 year business.
"I would show people and it felt like bragging rights," said Historic Auto Attractions Owner Wayne Lensing when asked how his business started. "The public was like fascinated when they seen all the presidential cars: Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower."
The collection quickly grew throughout the years. Lensing says he wanted to diversify his museum and make it intriguing for all people of all ages. That's when Bonnie and Clyde, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters and Batmobiles came into the mix.
"I got into stuff like Elvis Presley, James Dean," said Lensing.
Walking through the museum is an experience that transforms you to a different era at every turn.
"Now, we have a large collection of Abraham Lincoln that I am proud of because we are in the Land of Lincoln," said Lensing.
The extensive John F. Kennedy collection is what Lensing likes the most and for good reason because Historic Auto Attractions is home to the largest JFK and presidential and world leader cars in the country.
"Because some of them have so much elegancy. The way they used to make cars, it draws me in to just see the beauty of them," said Lensing when asked about his passion for cars and presidential cars.
Lensing says his growing museum is gaining national recognition with people coming to visit from across the country. But he doesn't just want these artifacts to be entertainment for family and friends; he says one of his employers and historian, Tony, makes the experience an educational one.
"If somebody has a question on an artifact, he really helps them out. And what we are trying to do is get people an education when they come in," said Lensing.
Getting lost isn't a bad thing inside this hidden gem because there's something for everyone.
"When you leave here, you'll find something that you love. You might not love the Old West but you might like Gangsterland," said Lensing.
Historic Auto Attractions will close for the season on Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. It'll then open again next summer bigger than ever before with a massive 50,000 square foot additional building which will include the Lincoln exhibit, JFK and so much more. For more information, click here.