Kansas Automobile Museum is boosting business for small town

GRAHAM COUNTY, Kansas (KSNW) – A new museum in western Kansas is attracting large numbers of visitors and boosting business for the small town of Hill City.

“More than 1,100 people have visited this museum since it opened in April 2021 and
that’s 1,100 people, some of whom are city dwellers, but that’s a lot of people who come to our community and spend money at the gas station, in a restaurant or in downtown stores, ”said declared museum secretary Phyllis Weller.

The Graham County Auto & Art Museum is a one-of-a-kind place with dozens of classic cars, vintage tractors and vehicles that have graced sets from films like “Paper Moon” and “Tucker”.

“We have cars from the 1920s to the 1970s, and they all have character, class and style,” said Rick Roberts, museum board member.

The museum is a labor of love. Several city dwellers thought of the idea in 2017.

“Basically on a dream and a prayer,” Weller said.

When a building went up for sale in 2019, Weller and a few others started looking for donors. Dozens of businesses have stepped up, as has Stephen Tebo, a Hill City native and business icon from Boulder, Colorado.

“It’s the Tebo room because Stephen Tebo was a major donor for us. He exhibits these vehicles from his own collection, ”explained the museum’s president, Cory Simoneau, while he was showing KSN around in November.

Simoneau and other museum associates give Tebo credit for making the museum what it is today.

“We would be open, but we wouldn’t have this caliber of cars. He has an incredible quality of cars, a great collection, and he’s our biggest contributor, ”explained Roberts.

The museum displays around 30 classic cars, including a handful from Tebo’s collection. The vehicles are on loan and are exchanged every few months. In addition to cars from Tebo, there are local vehicles from Hoxie, Hill City, Plainville and Hays.

“We have car owners who want to come, but they’re on a waiting list,” Weller explained.

This is good news for Hill City and the surrounding area. Weller said the more cars they rotate in and out of the museum, the more likely they will drive visitors to the city.

“It’s what any small town needs, and it’s one of our main things that we want to do is bring people into our community,” she said. .

“This is what we strive to help our community for. All of the board members were raised here, raised here, and we don’t want to give up. We love what we do. We appreciate it, ”said Roberts.

The Graham County Auto & Art Museum is located at US 24 and 283. Admission is $ 5.

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