RV-MH Hall of Fame Exhibits Campers of Yesteryear

It wasn’t long after automobiles became the mainstay of American society that people began converting them into recreational vehicles or pulling camping trailers behind them.  Both the first motorhome and the first travel trailers made their debuts in 1910. Last summer we visited the RV-MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana, where campers dating as far back as the 1916 are on display in the museum, including some once owned by well-known people.

RV-MH Hall of Fame museum

I found it interesting that although styles have changed and conveniences added over the years, the basic recreational vehicle concepts are still the same. Here are some of our museum favorites:

1916 Cozy Camp Tent Trailer

1916 Cozy Camp Tent Trailer
This is one of the earliest versions of a tent trailer. It was made by Habig Manufacturing of Indianapolis. They advertised that “One man can set it up in 7 minutes.”

1928 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar

1928 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar
One of only three luxury housecars produced by Pierce Arrow before the Great Depression.The body was provided by a California company. Motorhomes were referred to as “housecars” back then.

1931 Tennessee Traveler Housecar

1931 Tennessee Traveler Housecar
This was a homemade housecar on a Model AA Ford chassis. it was common in the early days to customize your own vehicle or have a local craftsman customize it for you.

1931 Mae West Housecar

1931 Mae West Housecar
Mae West used this chauffeur-driven vehicle to travel from her home or hotel to movie-shooting locations. It was not designed as a camper.

1935 York Rambler

1935 York Rampler


1939 Lindbergh Travel Trailer

1939 Lindbergh Travel Trailer
Charles Lindbergh owned this custom-built travel trailer.

1957 Serro Scotty 10-Foot Teardrop Trailer

1957 Serro Scotty ;10-Foot Teardrop Trailer
This tiny camper had a drop-floor just inside the doorway to make enough space to stand. Teardrop campers are becoming popular again.

1954 Spartan Imperial Mansion

J. Paul Getty’s Spartan Aircraft Company built the Spartain Imperial Mansions following WWII with surplus aircraft materials.

If you visit the RV-MH Hall of Fame

The RV-MH Hall of Fame is located at 21565 Executive Parkway in Elkhart, Indiana. Check the website for hours and admission fees.


Overnight parking is allowed at the RV-MH Hall of Fame. Check the website for details. The RV-MH Hall of Fame website also lists area campgrounds. During our visit to the Elkhart area, we didn’t camp. We stayed at the Murphy Guest House in Bristol, Indiana. Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor.

RV-MH Hall of Fame


Disclosures: The Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau.and the RV-MH Hall of Fame hosted our visit to the RV-MH Hall of Fame. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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