Couple hopes to share passion, stories with Good Ole Days Museum
Published 5:25 pm Thursday, November 2, 2023
WESSON —. Brian and his wife Mandy King have a passion for antiques and telling stories.
They are the owners of an antique car museum nestled in the rolling hills of the Wesson countryside. Saturday’s weather will be perfect for a car ride to the Good Ole Days Museum grand opening at 10 a.m.
Wesson Chamber of Commerce will be there for a ribbon cutting. Owners of vintage cars are invited to drive out there to celebrate the big day. November 4th is the anniversary of the couple pouring the slab for the museum.
Brian said they originally wanted to build a storage area for their antique car collection but Mandy joked they should open a museum. A year after pouring the concrete, the museum is ready to welcome guests to the “Good Ole Days,” when times were simpler and American craftsmanship was valued.
“It resembles what 1920s America looked like. We spent every spare moment working on the museum,” Brian said. “Our goal was to open in a year and we did. We aren’t just car people. We want an adventure with the car. Every scene and car has a story. We will try to add more into every scene.”
People may be familiar with the address of the museum. 4179 Anderson Road in Wesson was once a Halloween attraction with a haunted graveyard. Mandy and Brian put together a haunted graveyard for several years before a tornado set them back and COVID slowed activities down. The graveyard may make a return next October. The Kings said they like to evolve and have something different. Their plans are to keep adding to the museum if it takes off.
The Kings took their passion for art and set design to help layout the museum. Each antique car has a scene put together to help tell the story of the vehicle and transport people to a different time and place.
For the opening weekend, Brian’s mentor Kirk Hill donated a Model T Race Car for display. Hill is a mentor to Brian, Mandy said.
“When my parents died he stepped up and filled a hole. He helped me find these cars and helped mentor me,” Brian said. “We talk on the phone several times a day. I don’t know what I would do without him. He is a good guy. You meet so many people in this who have the same passion you do. Finding what they have and talking about how they find their cars is a lot of fun.”
Hill helped Brian reunite with his first love. An old 1924 Model T that was once owned by a handyman. Brian said a home appliance power socket inside the vehicle allowed for power tools to be operated from it.
He first saw the Model T, now outside of the museum, at the Mississippi State Fair as a little boy. It was tucked away in a corner at the car show but every year he would find it and just imagine the stories the car could tell. One year the car disappeared and Brian lost interest in the fair but the Model T still preyed upon his mind.
He built a lego model of the car and it became his favorite toy as a kid. The antique automobile sparked his love for old cars. Two months ago, Hill found the vehicle in a storage unit and Brian came to look at it and saw it for the first time in 30 years.
“It was like rekindling this passion. It was emotional,” Brian said. “This was the last vehicle we acquired for the museum.”
A grand tour
Stepping into the museum, Visitors are first greeted by a picture of Brian’s parents and a guest book. As the eyes adjust to the lighting more and more details, donated taxidermy and antiques catch the eye.
Immediately to the right of the museum entrance is a western saloon with a hearse. Signs and glass windows on the hearse pay tribute to the fictional haunted graveyard the couple once ran called Silent Oaks.
Each hour a clock from the 1850s chimes. An old Edison phonograph stands next to it complete with a morning glory horn adding color to the scene.
A rockaway carriage made in 1868 is next to the hearse. Brian said it would have been the limo back in the day.
Parked in the painted city street scene is an old Model T which Brian and Mandy replaced the roof and interior on. Brian said he envisioned this Model T to have a speakeasy feel so the interior is red fabric with lights. It is one of their favorite vehicles to drive.
All of the vehicles on display at the museum are fully functional and can drive. The vehicles are hand cranked and have more complex transmissions but are a lot easier to work on.
Brian built a blacksmith shop scene to hide an AC unit. The 1919 Dodge Pickup truck has a bucket of corn and a moonshine still in the bed. One neat thing about the blacksmith shop is the ambient sound of a burning fire and a blacksmith hard at work. An old farm plow, traps and antique tools adorn the blacksmith shop wall.
A 1922 Roadster is next and it is set to a scene of if someone had taken a trip out to the Windsor Ruins in Claiborne County. Brian said the Roadster is called RJ, short for rusty junior because of how rusty it is. His daughter loves the Roadster and has learned how to drive it.
To the left of the 22 Roadster is a 1924 Model T Doctor’s Coupe. Brian said he is working to learn more about the man who owned the coup.
One of the Model Ts has a Mississippi connection. A 1925 Model T C-Cab, named for the shape of the cab, was sold in Mississippi and would have been used to peddle groceries around. Produce boxes in the back of the one ton truck are from the old Hazlehurst Mercantile.
A 1929 Model A Phaeton is set in a scene of Old Hollywood. Everything from the frame to the convertible roof had to be restored. It was purchased in an auction and started the vintage car collection. Brian said he didn’t even go to buy a car but went to buy a disk for a tractor. Mandy convinced him to buy it.
The paint is now a red but was once a horrible green color.
“It was different from all the other cars he had. It was an eclectic mix. He had a couple of Model Ts and they were rotted down. I just fell in love with it,” Mandy said. “You saw the green paint and it stands out for sure. I sat in it and said I love this car. I always wanted one but never thought I could have one that antique.”
Pride and Joy
Brian’s pride and joy in the collection is a 1915 Model T. It is the oldest car in his collection and has a brass radiator and brass trim around the headlights. He said Ford produced Model T’s with brass, nickel and steel radiators. It is parked in front of an old filling station. The station serves two purposes, one to set the scene of an old country store with old advertisement signs, canisters and gas pumps and to hide the bathroom.
“Everything here was found. All of the old signs, it was a constant treasure hunt. There will be more to this scene soon,” Brian said. “The cloud above the scene will be paired with lightning and thunder every five to 10 minutes and rain will fall off the roof into a bucket. It’s our love for Disney like a scene from American Adventures at Epcot. We are extremely detailed and we like to add details where you may not see it but if it wasn’t there you would notice.”
For example, the service station has an artificial wasp nest in the corner of the building frame and roof. The city street was painted by the couple and features a manhole cover, a drain cover and brick sidewalks. Mandy said she scooted across the floor to paint it.
The Kings hope to educate, tell a story and share a passion with people. The museum gives antiques a home and purpose helps keep their stories alive. Brian hopes to learn more stories to help preserve the history.
Everyone can find something in the museum that will catch their attention and peak their curiosity. For this writer, it was an old brush cutter, nicknamed the beast, that first grabbed my attention.
There is no charge to attend the museum but donations are appreciated. Museum hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 1p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.