The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum in Walcott hosts an annual Jamboree attended by 30,000 people. The trucking museum has more than 100 antique trucks on display.
The museum’s collection was started in 1979 by Iowa 80 truck stop founder Bill Moon – who had an obvious and unmatched passion for trucks. He looked for a unique truck or artifact to add to his collection. Every summer, this 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.
The museum 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.
The audio, narrated by museum curator Dave Meier, provides additional details about each truck that is not necessarily found on exhibit signs. Visitors at the museum can simply scan a “QR” code at the welcome desk to download the app. Virtual visitors can download it from the website. The innovation – increasingly popular among museums – allows both virtual and actual visitors to scan and download detailed 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,” notes Marketing Director Heather DeBaillie. “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 says.
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.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, Iowa 80, DeBaillie notes.
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 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.
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,” explains Meir.
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. 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.
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.
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Citation Information – Article Title: “Iowa 80 Trucking Museum.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: https://aoghs.org/oil-almanac/oil-riches-of-merriman-baptist-church. Last Updated: January 15, 2021. Original Published Date: April 18, 2012.