John F. Kennedy hearse to join display at Hill City attraction
HILL CITY –– The grand opening of Tebo’s Corner, which features the Graham County Auto and Art Museum for the residents of Hill City and is located at the intersection of Highways 24 and 283, will take place April 24, beginning at 10 a.m.
The idea for an auto and art museum came from a Hill City native, Fred Pratt. A generous donation from Stephen Tebo — a 1962 graduate of Hill City High School and owner of Tebo Properties, in Boulder, Colorado — who donated along with a number of local Hill City area businesses, the Hanson Foundation and the local Community Foundation, allowed the Graham County Auto and Art Museum Corporation to purchase the original famed “Dean’s Service” gas station. The gas station was renovated and expanded to complete the now 8,000-square-foot museum, which was designed to attract both locals and tourists passing through the town’s major intersection of Highways 24 and 283.
For the first time in 10 years, the 1964 Cadillac hearse that transported former President John F. Kennedy’s body from Parkland Memorial Hospital to Air Force One after his death in November 1963 will be on display to the public. The vehicle, which Tebo purchased at a car collector’s auction in 2012, will join other classic cars from a portion of his personal collection, including a 1936 Cadillac Convertible, a 1929 Pierce Arrow, a 1924 Duesenberg and a 1922 Model T. The display of classic cars will also include local automobiles, including a Model T that was featured in the movie “Paper Moon,” a 1967 Pontiac, a 1942 Chevy Sudan and a 1969 Camero, along with antique tractors and several vintage motorcycles. Additionally, Tebo’s contribution from his collection will rotate frequently so visitors will be able to see updated exhibits on a regular basis.
“After a tumultuous year, I’m honored to not only help provide something to bring the community together again but to help restore the vitality of the downtown area,” said Tebo, who fondly remembers his first job at eight years old shining shoes at Rex’s Barbershop, which was located down the street from where Tebo’s Corner exists today. “The local board of directors has done a tremendous job at getting this done.”
“The location of the museum offers a great opportunity to bring more tourism to Hill City and benefit the community as a whole,” said Cory Simoneau, president of the Graham County Auto and Art Museum. “We hope this will help to sustain many of the surrounding local businesses that have suffered over the last year because of the pandemic.”
The museum will feature a small arts and crafts store at the front entrance to attract both art and automobile enthusiasts and will host a public grand opening event April 24. The event will begin at 10 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting and a luncheon following. Tickets may be purchased for $5 at the museum, and participants will have available a free will donation luncheon. There will also be several raffles featuring two heirloom quilts made by Stephanie Simoneau and Phyllis Weller as well as other items.
Following the grand opening, the museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday with an admission fee of $5.