NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION
Pierce-Arrow Society Holds 60th
Annual Meeting in St. Louis
The Pierce Arrow Society chose St. Louis for the host city of the 60th Annual Meet. This was held the first full week of June and the Sheraton West Port Plaza was the host hotel. There were over 180 registered members, including several from the Spirit of St. Louis Region CCCA, with 45 cars present. Spirit member Doug Kirberg opened his collection for those coming early on Monday. We were welcomed to his building with cold drinks and a cupcake food truck. It was great to see Doug again and he is a most gracious host. He described his cars and answered questions for hours. Later that evening we had dinner in a private room at Bristol's Seafood Grill.
Tuesday is the traditional Board of Directors meetings, but the rest of us had a chance to tour some of the sights of St. Louis via motor coaches. We began the tour in the Central West End, at the New Cathedral. This holds one of the world's largest collections of fine mosaic art. We had a docent led tour and most were impressed with the beauty and splendor of the whole facility. We had lunch on our own and I took a small group to the Pierce Arrow Dealership building at Euclid at Washington Avenue. We got a complete building tour from the manager of the restored building. The original show room floor is still in place, now being utilized as a restaurant. From there, we drove to the Grand Arts and Entertainment District where we toured the Couples House on the campus of St. Louis University. Then on to the fabulous Fox Theatre, where we were treated to a musical performance by local Pierce and Spirit Region member David Stephens on the mighty Wurlitzer organ. On the way back to the hotel, we drove through Forest Park noting all the museums, the zoo, sporting activities and natural beauty of the wonderful park. Local Pierce and Spirit Region member, Fred Guyton, hosted the group for dinner and a tour of his wonderful building. Fred has both a car and trailer made by Pierce-Arrow.
Wednesday was the first touring day in the Pierce-Arrow motorcars. The judging rules for the Pierce Arrow Society includes a requirement that to be eligible for judging at the show, you must drive the car on one of the planned tours. Today's tour was the shortest and we began by driving the back roads through Creve Coeur and Town and Country on our way to the Museum of Transportation. The group spent the whole morning looking at the cars, trucks, trains and plane.
The size and variety of the collection made quite an impression on the entire group.
From there we drove to lunch at Faust Park. The weather was perfect for a picnic under the pavilion. We were able to visit the Butterfly House, take a ride on the Carousel, visit the Thornhill estate and see the historic Faust village. Those that rode the carousel were thrilled with how long the ride was. It's the little things that make a successful tour. Wednesday evening was open for people to explore the region on their own time.
The tour on Thursday began with a nice drive through Creve Coeur Park, past the lake and to the Creve Coeur Airport museum. There are several hangers of antique airplanes, parts, motorcycles and some cars. Many of the planes have a St. Louis connection. The Waco aircraft club had a "fly-in" and several of the car owners were able to have their car photographed with a similar aged plane. From the airport we drove to St. Charles to Fast Lane Classic Cars. Although I couldn't find any real Classics in the inventory, they had some very nice cars. Then the group drove west to the Chandler Hill Winery for lunch. After a great buffet meal and some wine tasting, we drove down the road to the Daniel Boone Home and village. Docents were in the house and some of the village buildings to explain the later life of Daniel Boone, his family and how the collection of buildings were brought together. The weather was perfect for walking around the grounds. Thursday evening, Spirit member Mark Hyman graciously opened his buildings for us to view the cars on display. One of the Pierce members from California remarked that the white Buick on display in the front reception area was just like one he had owned years ago. After talking to Mark, he found out it was the same car!
Friday was the last touring day and it was the longest total drive. We began by driving to the Hunter Engineering complex where we were welcomed with donuts and beverages. All of the buildings were open for viewing. A special treat was watching (and hearing) Marc Ohm fire up a 1942 Packard built, Rolls designed P-51 Mustang WWII fighter plane engine. It shook the ground. Mr. Brauer's collection continues to grow; what it lacks in Pierce cars it makes up with Pierce Advertising covering the walls of one of the display rooms. From there we drove across the Clark bridge into Alton, Illinois through some of the countryside and up to Pere Marquette Lodge for lunch. It was a fine day to have a cool beverage on the patio and watch the river flow past. After lunch the group drove south along the river road to Hartford, Illinois and the Lewis and Clark State Museum and Confluence Tower. Here an elevator takes you up several stories to view the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers confluence. Friday evening was the swap meet and silent auction to benefit the Pierce-Arrow Museum at the Gilmore Museum in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Saturday morning dawned bright and early for those last minute car cleanings and adjustments. The show was at the St. Louis Museum of Transportation. After a judges meeting and instructions, the cars eligible for judging were inspected. The day was beautiful, warm but low humidity and a nice breeze. After viewing the cars, many went back to see trains and other buildings they had missed earlier in the week. The St. Louis Cardinal food truck was there to offer lunch to those on site. Some business was conducted at the show as at least one of the Pierce's changed ownership. The cars started to leave in the afternoon and the whole group reassembled at the banquet room of the Sheraton Hotel for the awards dinner. In addition to the various classes, awards are also given to the car driven to the meet the farthest, the most original car, bicycle class and of course Best of Show. The Pierce driven the farthest was a 1918 Model 48 touring owned by Peter Fawcett and driven from Oshawa, Ontario Canada. That is North of Toronto! The most original was the 1929 Model 133 Sedan owned by John Cislak of Massachusetts. The Best of Show, the Bernie Weis Trophy, went to Jim Follis of Temecula, California for his 1926 Series 80 touring.
It is hard to imagine, after so many months of planning and preparation, how fast a week of beautiful cars, great people and incredible weather can be over so soon.
I heard so many positive remarks from the Pierce attendees about how impressed they were with the places they went and the cars they saw and the people they met while in St. Louis. I want to thank all those Spirit of St. Louis CCCA members that helped present our city and the Spirit Region in the best way possible, as well as Doug Kirberg, Fred Guyton, Mark Hyman and Steve Brauer for graciously allowing us access to their buildings and cars.
And finally, thanks to all of the Spirit Region members who are also Pierce-Arrow Society members for attending many of the functions, including John & Rose Gibson, Bob Radel, John Lowell, David Stephens, Allen & Nancy Strong, and Ken Hundelt.
Story by Duane Wesche
Photos courtesy of Duane Wesche and John Lowell