The five children of Elmer Duellman could probably tell hundreds of stories about their father.
There are still three weekends to go Elmer’s Auto & Toy MuseumFountain City, Wis.map), being open to the public, before it’s auctioned off by one of the world’s biggest auction companies, you can bet plenty of those stories are going to be told.
Brad Duellman joined La Crosse Talk PM this Thursday and was able share a few of them with the audience.
In telling some of the history behind the museum, Brad glossed over a peculiar detail — because it wasn’t abnormal to him. This detail: They have a 1929 Model A in the house.
He said it in passing, and didn’t think anything of it. It was necessary to interrupt his thoughts and ask him the question. ‘Wait, there’s a Model A in your house?’
The story goes that mom, Bernadette, somehow didn’t know dad was so very literal.
“I know dad, if you said something, you had to be careful, because he could take you literally and run with it,”Brad said.
As Elmer brought a couple of cars home one day, including the Model A, Brad said of his mom, “She made a comment that, ‘Boy that’s nice enough to put in the house.’
“Well, the following year, they built an addition on the house with a fake wall behind us so they could drive it through the garage, into the house. So it sits in the living room, next to the fireplace. It’s just part of the furniture.”
The museum consists of more than 2,000 items in five buildings. There is also a house-garage, and the Mecum tent. there in a month.
Duellman stated that there are unique items that people around the world are interested to acquire. The museum has everything from pedal cars to wagons to trikes and bikes to scooters to Vespa’s to snowmobiles, boat engines, signs and, of course, the big cars.
A 1978 Silver Anniversary Corvette with just 5.4 miles is another interesting fact that will be part of the auction next week. Brad stated that the vehicle was driven on the trailer and then off the trailer before being parked. That’s it.
Brad was asked if his father collected cars like toys and if he wanted to keep them. “new in box”So to speak.
“That is a good way to put it because, I mean, the window sticker is still in the window,”Brad spoke highly about the Corvette “the cardboard’s still in the steering wheel, the seats are still covered. The cardboard’s still on the floor. Yeah, that’d be a good way to describe it.”
Some might wonder why they decided to auction the museum — a giant part of their childhood — off. Brad said it wasn’t their plan.
“Well, the museum, we all grew up with it, so it’s part of us, too,”He said. “But it was dad’s passion and he truly loved to share it with people. The next step was sharing it with the rest.
“So, he had this in the motion already before he passed away. And I never argued with my dad when he was alive and I’m not gonna argue with him now. This is the next step.”
Five museums buildings are available for tours with collections including:
Autos & Cycles
- Over 100 Muscle, Antique & Classic Autos & Trucks Starting in 1910 & Up
- Indian & Harley Davidson Motorcycles
- Old Bicycles and High Wheel Bikes
- Antique Racecars & More
- Largest Pedal Car Show in the Country with 600-700 Cars
- Over 100 Pedal Tractors
- Small Pedal Riding Toys: Horses, tricycles and wagons
- 1,000’s of Antique Toys
- Pressed steel
- Tin wind-ups
- Japanese tin
- Battery powered
- Farm tools
- Carpenter tools
- Mechanic tools