Practically since its opening day in 1979, the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum has hosted an annual Jamboree attended by thousands. The trucking museum in Walcott has more than 100 antique trucks on display, including an 1890 Standard Oil triple wagon; a 1903 Eldridge; 1910 Avery tractor/gasoline farm wagon; and a 1911 Walker Electric Model 43.

The museum’s collection began thanks to truck stop founder Bill Moon, who had a passion for trucks and truck history. Every summer, the museum at exit 284 on I -80 outside Walcott, Iowa, hosts a variety of events for truckers and other travelers, teachers, students — and transportation history buffs.

“Bill had a passion for collecting antique trucks and other trucking memorabilia,” notes the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum website. “We are pleased to be able to share this collection with the general public. Every truck has a story to tell and can provide a unique glimpse back in time. Many rare and one-of-a-kind trucks are on display.”

Trucking Museum

“If you are the least bit into cars you will find the museum interesting and well worth the stop,” notes a visitor from Legendary Collector Cars.”From what we could tell, it looks like this I-80 Exit at Walcott Iowa is about to become the over the road truckers Disneyland in a few years.”

The museum, which offers short films about trucking history, attracts all kinds of visitors, from those interested in antique trucks to those wanting to learn the history of modern, big rigs. Exhibit spaces, which expanded in March 2012, now offer a free app for iPhones and Androids with audio narratives.

truckers museum

Since it’s inception in 1979, the Truckers Jamboree has been celebrating America’s Truckers. This event is a great place to celebrate and learn about trucking history – and those big rigs.

The narratives provide many additional details about each truck not necessarily found on exhibit signs. Visitors can scan a “QR” code at the welcome desk to download the app. Upcoming museum visitors can download it from the website. The innovation — increasingly found at museums — allows both virtual and actual visitors to scan and download exhibit information.

“World’s Largest Truck Stop”

“The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum’s mission is to celebrate trucking and to preserve and share its history,” noted Marketing Director Heather DeBaillie in 2012. “This app will give visitors even more information about the exhibits they are viewing and also give those who are unable to visit the museum the opportunity to learn more about trucking history,” she said.

trucking museum

A century of trucking technology is on exhibit at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, which on July 15, 2011, celebrated the birthday of its rare 1911 Walker electric truck, which once delivered dairy products.

In July, the annual Jamborees host nearly 30,000 drivers and their families from 23 different states and Canada. During two days guests enjoyed 175 exhibits — and a Super Truck Beauty Contest with 59 contestants.

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In 2011, the museum hosted a birthday party for its Walker electric truck — the party coincided with the 32nd annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree at its next-door neighbor, the Iowa 80 Truck Stop, DeBaillie noted.

The antique truck display included more than 200 vehicles. Thousands also enjoyed an Iowa pork chop cookout; a Trucker Olympics; carnival games; a concert and fireworks display.

trucking museum

A 1929 International Harvester. Photo courtesy Legendary Collector Cars, which notes: “If you are the least bit into cars you will find the museum interesting and well worth the stop.”

Trucking Museum 1901 Electric Truck

The Walker truck’s 2011 centennial birthday party at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum celebrated an electric manufactured by the Walker Vehicle Company of Chicago.

The company produced electric vehicles until late 1941. Walker trucks were used mainly as delivery trucks in major cities — delivering ice cream and other dairy products, baked goods and dry goods.

trucking museum

Although the 1919 International Harvester’s four-cylinder gasoline engine provided a top speed of just 17 mph, it was the first truck to climb Pike’s Peak.

The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum’s 1911 Walker electric truck was owned by Bowman Dairy and used to deliver milk to hospitals, restaurants and hotels, according to curator Dave Meier. It is one of only a handful of Walker Electric trucks known to still exist.

“Many people think that electric vehicles are a recent invention, when in fact they were in production over 100 years ago,” explained Meir.

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Electric vehicles were popular in the late-19th century and early 20th century – until advances in internal combustion engine technology and mass production of cheaper gasoline vehicles led to a decline in their use (also see Cantankerous Combustion — 1st U.S. Auto Show).

Among the exhibits at the trucking museum is one of the few surviving examples of an Avery gasoline-powered tractor. Avery Company of Peoria, Illinois, began producing coal (and straw)-burning steam tractors in 1891 — and became the world’s largest tractor supplier. It was also one of the first companies to manufacture gasoline tractors.

trucking museum

Manufactured in Peoria, Illinois, Avery tractors brought new efficiency to rural America — and the world. The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum’s 1910 Avery “Tractor-Gasoline Farm Wagon” (at right) was promoted with the slogan, “Makes Power Farming Possible on the Average Sized Farm.”

Created by his family, the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum was a dream of Bill Moon, who founded the Iowa 80 truck stop. Standard Oil originally built the stop in 1964 – when Interstate 80 was still under construction. In September 1965, Moon took over management and purchased it from Amoco in 1984. He managed its growth until his death in 1992.

Plan a visit to the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum.


The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact Copyright © 2024 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Citation Information – Article Title: “Iowa 80 Trucking Museum.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: Last Updated: January 25, 2024. Original Published Date: April 18, 2012.

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