- How many cars are there in the LeMay Family Collection? How many cars are on display at Marymount?
- Is the LeMay family still collecting vehicles? Does the collection change? Can I donate my vehicle to the collection?
- What is the difference between the LeMay Family Collection Foundation and the LeMay – America’s Car Museum?
- Am I allowed to take photographs in the LeMay Family Collection?
- I have a membership or passes for the LeMay Family Collection Foundation. Does this mean that I also have a membership or passes that can be used for the LeMay – America’s Car Museum? Is there a reciprocal agreement between the two organizations?
- How many buildings will I go through at Marymount? Is there a lot of walking? Are wheelchairs available?
- Do I have to go on a guided tour? How long do the tours take?
- What were the Marymount buildings used for originally?
- Where do I park at Marymount? Do I have to pay for parking? Where do I check in?
- What was Harold LeMay’s favorite car?
- When did Harold LeMay start collecting cars? What was Harold LeMay’s first car?
- How did Harold LeMay get the funds to buy so many vehicles?
- What types of vehicles are in the LeMay Collection?
The LeMay Family Collection is still growing and changing, so it’s difficult to pin down numbers, however, we know that the LeMay Family Collection stands at more than 1500 vehicles today (this number includes trucks, buses, motorcycles, cars). In 1998, the LeMay family collection was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Largest Antique & Vintage Vehicle Collection” with more than 1900 vehicles. At the time of Harold LeMay’s death in 2000, there were over 3,000 vehicles in his collection. The LeMay family have donated about 600 vehicles to the LeMay – America’s Car Museum, and they have sold several hundred parts/restorable/project cars since Harold LeMay’s death. There are currently more than 1000 LeMay collection vehicles stored off-site, and more than 500 LeMay collection vehicles shown to the public at Marymount at any one time.
Yes, some of the LeMay family members are still active car collectors who acquire vehicles for the collection. Individual people can also donate vehicles to the LeMay Family Collection Foundation, and receive a tax write-off, since the Foundation is a non-profit organization. The collection changes with the addition of these new acquisitions or donations. The collection seen by the public at Marymount also changes when vehicles are brought from off-site storage buildings, and exchanged for other vehicles.
The LeMay Family Collection Foundation is located at Marymount, and is a completely separate organization from the LeMay – America’s Car Museum. The LeMay family started both organizations originally, and they are very supportive of the LeMay – America’s Car Museum (in addition to the vehicles that the family has donated to them over the years, they also have more than 20 vehicles on loan to ACM), but they don’t directly manage that museum. The LeMay Family Collection at Marymount showcases vehicles that are still owned by the LeMay family, and represents more than just cars – it represents all the other related collections that have been accumulated by the LeMay family (Americana, signage, gas pumps, dolls and toys, library materials, etc.) Many car-loving visitors enjoy visiting both the LeMay Family Collection as well as the LeMay – America’s Car Museum.
Yes, photos for personal use are strongly encouraged. Tripods and flash are ok.
Since the LeMay Family Collection Foundation and the LeMay – America’s Car Museum are two completely separate organizations, a membership or admission pass at one of those locations is not good at the other location. There is not currently a reciprocal agreement in place for admission.
There are 3 buildings at Marymount full of over 500 vintage vehicles that most visitors will go through during their visit. There is approximately 2/3 mile of walking for most people. Wheelchairs or walkers are available – just ask at the front desk when you check in.
Of the three buildings at Marymount, at least one building is generally self-guided. The other two buildings are generally by guided tour only. We tell visitors to plan on about two hours on average to see all three buildings.
Marymount was purchased in 1919 by the Sisters of Saint Dominic in Tacoma, WA. It was operated as Marymount Military Academy by the Sisters until the 1970′s. The Marymount property was purchased by Harold LeMay in the early 1990′s to store more vehicles from his rapidly growing car collection – it was one of Harold’s first commercial garbage accounts, and was only 1.5 miles from his home in Parkland, so it was an ideal location.
There is a paved parking area at Marymount, as well as parking on the grass. Parking is complimentary. Just park your car and come in to the front desk to check-in.
Harold: “Well, most of the time it is something that catches my eye. It is something that I think I’d be interested in, and therefore I feel others would be interested. So I don’t go for just the dollar value car, many times it is… if it has eye appeal, or is unusual. If it is unusual, I like it… So I am kind of a maverick, since I am not a dyed-in-the-wool Chevy, Ford, or Duesenberg man. I see it, I like it, I buy it.” Over the years, Harold sold a mere handful of collection cars and a few of those he eventually re-purchased. “Like my family, I love them all and don’t have favorites,” he says. (Nancy, on the other hand, is partial to a Duesenberg replica she says is fun to drive)…”
Harold: “I like them all… Some of them have stories behind them…The people we meet… which is very important to me… Made many friends over the cars. Sometimes you will see a car – the car may not be so significant, but the friendship you made over the acquisition of the car has great meaning, I think…”
The 1914 Chevrolet Baby Grand shown here also had special meaning to Harold. It was the first car he remembered riding in as a child. He was three years old when a couple whom he affectionately called “Uncle” and “Aunt” drove up in this car and picked up Harold. He always carried the memory of this aunt and uncle who had him crawl up on his uncle’s lap to help drive the 1914 Chevrolet Baby Grand to the place he called home for many years at the bottom of Muck Creek Hill. Harold bought a Baby Grand sight-unseen from a man in upper Michigan. It was everything the man said it was – a beautiful Baby Grand. Harold and Nancy were soon on their way to a trade show in Chicago where he bought a frontload garbage truck with a clear plexiglass panel on the back that was being used as a display and demonstration model. After purchasing the truck, he drove up to the little town where the Baby Grand was located. Harold loved the car, loaded it up, and he and Nancy drove it home. Because they were in a truck, they stopped at all truck inspection stations and weigh stations where people naturally gathered around to see the “old car in the back of the garbage truck.” Of course, many of these people mistakenly called it an “old Model T.” “Baby Grands” were called such because their original cost was $1,000, or a “grand.”
Harold E. LeMay considered his red 1934 Packard Sedan, shown here and acquired in 1952, to be his first true “collector car,” but the “old-car bug” didn’t truly infect him until he bought a Ford Model T and joined a Tacoma club in the mid-1960s. One “T” led to another… Harold was also hands-on. He purchased and collected the majority of his vehicles himself, not through a third party. Harold’s first car was a late-1920′s Ford (a fellow from Wisconsin had managed to demolish it by hitting a bridge before Harold purchased it). Harold literally built another car around the engine and ended up with a functional 1927 Ford Coupe bedecked with numerous lights and a radio of unknown origin (no longer exists).
Before Harold passed away, his business, Harold LeMay Enterprises, was the 10th largest refuse business in the United States. This business made it possible to invest in many other companies and in real estate. Harold also owned Lucky Towing, HELM Trucking, Lucky Sales & Service, among others. His success as a businessman allowed him to pursue his hobby and passion of collecting, which his family supported and have continued after his death.
Harold LeMay collected primarily American automobiles. At the time of Auto Appraisal Group (AAG) assessment of the collection in 2001, Harold E. LeMay’s collection consisted of 230 different manufacturers. These ranged from fire trucks to Rolls-Royce, Auburns to Acme Trucks, and included farm tractors and trains. The percentages were 85% Domestic vehicles and 15% Foreign vehicles. (Of the collection, the break-down was 20% Ford, 20% Chevrolet, 10% Cadillac, 7% Packard, 6% Dodge, 6% Chrysler, 5% Buick, 5% Pontiac, 4% Oldsmobile, 4% Lincoln, 3% Plymouth, 3% Studebaker, 3% GMC, 2% Mercury)