If you are into a bit of early 20th century nostalgia, this last entry on our tour of sometimes quirky, out-of-the-way museums should delight you.
In the 1920's, as automobile travel became more viable for families, and the construction of interstates blossomed, the Great Lakes to Florida Highway (Route 21) passed through the bucolic town of Wytheville, Virginia. Route 21 was the main route for snowbirds wanting a warm winter vacation, and in 1926, H.R. Umberger operated a Texaco gas station that was a popular stop on the long trip.
In the 1950s, Interstate 77 was built and Route 21 became just another abandoned major thoroughfare. The town of Wytheville, determined to attract tourists, purchased the gas station and lovingly restored it to its glory days and created the Great Lakes to Florida Highway Museum.
In spite of its small size, the museum displays a variety of vintage memorabilia including old cash registers, coin-operated postage stamp machines, newspaper clippings from the era, vintage maps and more. The hand-operated gas pumps are worth the visit alone, not to mention the old coca-cola refrigerator.
There are a few other local museums you can visit on your trip to Wytheville - or through Wytheville if you are on your way to or from Florida. Make a day of it. Oh, and make sure you give a nod to the man who wears the star (the big, bright Texaco star!).