Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oscar's Dreamland ...

It always fascinates me, the things that people remember and the things people forget. It's particularly intriguing for travelers ... because often, the grand museums and spectacular natural wonders one visits take a back seat in memory to places that are far more obscure.

A couple of decades ago, an out-of-state friend of mine took a long roadtrip across the American west, spending a fair amount of time in Montana. Whenever he mentions the trip to me, though, he doesn't talk about his days of hiking through Glacier ... instead, he tells me how very cool Oscar's Dreamland was.

What was Oscar's Dreamland? Well, it was a tourist attraction out between Billings and Laurel, just south of the Interstate. The place was the creation of a retired gentleman named Oscar Cooke, who started collecting old farm tractors and then got carried away. Eventually he had several old buildings, hundreds of pieces of antique farm equipment, and countless other cool old things, and he displayed it all in an amazing, odd museum that he opened to the public every summer.

Places like that seldom last, though. Oscar died back in 1995, and though his family initially promised to keep Dreamland going, they auctioned nearly all the stuff off three years later. So my friend's great memory will never be repeated.

Here's an old postcard of Oscar's, probably from the late 1970s or so.

1 comment:

  1. It should be mentioned that Oscar's stuff had to be auctioned to help pay the taxes that overwhelmed the family.