The Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum on old Route 66 in Warwick, Okla. (west of Chandler) held what amounted to a “soft opening” on Sunday afternoon. The museum opens officially on Monday.
Seaba Station was built by John and Alice Seaba as a DX gas station in 1924, two years before Route 66 was certified. Sonny and Sue Preston renovated much of the property during the 1990s and operated it as an antique shop for several years. They sold it to Jerry Ries and Gerald Tims in 2007, and the duo restored the front of the building to its original look. Tims owns Performance Cycle in Bethany, Okla.
One of the things that you first notice about the motorcycle museum is its well-crafted pine ceilings. These were built and installed by Ries himself.
I counted more than 60 motorcycles of all types on display. Not just bikes can be seen here, but plenty of memorabilia. That includes racing uniforms, magazines, posters, parts, tools, toys, signs and an Evel Kneivel pinball machine from 1975.
Ries said one of the rarest motorcycles in the museum is this 1913 Pope Board Tracker, with a replica section of wooden track it would have raced on during that era. Ries said the tracks were built at a 45-degree angle, sometimes 60, where Pope racers would go up to 100 mph “with no brakes.”
Less than an hour after it opened, Seaba Station was doing a brisk business in T-shirt and cap sales. It also offers Route 66 souvenirs, and will add more items to the gift shop soon.
Ries said he’d put in 12- to 15-hour days in the last few weeks getting museum ready. He and Tims plan to add antique gas pumps to the front of the building. Long-term plans include a restaurant in one of the side rooms.
Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum will be open seven days a week. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, then 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.