California Route 66 Museum forced to auction its antique truck

A recent crime wave around the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville has prompted it to auction a 1947 Studebaker truck that has been parked for years in front of the facility.

I-15 Auctions of nearby Hesperia, California, took bids of up to $2,300 Friday night for the vehicle, with final bids slated for later today, reported the Victorville Daily Press.

Transients and homeless people have caused problems for years around the museum, but the newspaper’s report indicates the woes have escalated.

“We’re selling the truck because it’s becoming a liability,” said Museum Business Manager Sue Bridges on Thursday as she reviewed recorded surveillance footage of a man setting a small fire outside the museum’s front door. “Over the last six years, we’ve had transients sleeping in the truck and setting fires inside the cab. We’ve even had the doors of the truck screwed shut so they couldn’t get in, but they broke the windows and got in any way.” […]

“Our visitors love that truck and they’re always taking pictures of themselves in front of it,” Bridges said. “But the truck has become a magnet for the homeless, who have literally destroyed it.”

Over the last few years, the museum has experienced numerous individuals setting multiple fires, breaking windows, tagging murals, vandalizing cars, sleeping and defecating on the property. […]

During a visit to the museum on Thursday, a Daily Press reporter observed three males who seemed to be intoxicated when confronted by staff. Two of them were sleeping and the third was stumbling across the parking lot before they were asked to leave.

“It’s been a never-ending cycle of transients, crime, fire, trespassing and drunks,” Bridges said. “Two of our male docents were attacked a while back — that’s when we started arming our lady docents with mace.”

It appears the city needs to get a better handle on the situation in the Old Town area where the museum sits, or else attendance there will inevitably crater.

The museum also suffered two break-ins this winter, including one that caused $30,000 in damage to display cases and memorabilia.

The museum launched a campaign to help cover the some of the costs of the burglary. It has raised more than $4,500 toward a $5,000 goal.

The California Route 66 Museum opened in 1995 in what was the Red Rooster Cafe, a site for the 1980 Neil Diamond movie “The Jazz Singer.” It’s one of the oldest Route 66 museums.

UPDATE: According to the auction house, the truck sold for $3,000.

(Image of the 1947 Studebaker truck in front of the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville by leiris202 via Flickr)

5 thoughts on “California Route 66 Museum forced to auction its antique truck

  1. Where is Donald and his 20 foot wall where it REALLY is needed?

    Seriously….what draws these vagrants to this building?

    If it is not close to other homes and businesses, there is no other option but to put a security fence around the building topped with razor wire, brick-in the windows, add steel doors, add vandal-proof spotlights at each corner and blast the recorded sound of a baby screaming every 15 minutes! I guarantee the bums will go elsewhere. The only other option would be to relocate to a better neighborhood.

  2. There is some innate enjoyment in destroying things. Think of Greeks smashing plates at celebrations, tree chopping competitions. Thankfully most humans rein in their destructive desires.

  3. How sad that a part of our history is being destroyed. Why aren’t the local law enforcement doing anything, especially since they have recorded footage of the crimes.
    Fencing the property seems like a viable idea. I love Route 66 and would love to see as much of it preserved as possible for future generations to enjoy.

  4. Yes jealousy – because those who do the damage know they are not intelligent enough to appreciate what is beyond them to make, care for, or just enjoy.

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