Wheels Through Time

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by okennon1, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. okennon1

    okennon1 Member

    Anyone know why Dale Welksler of Wheels Through Time is leaving Maggie Valley and heading to Arizona ?
  2. Randall K. Wilson

    Randall K. Wilson Junior Member

    I was visiting the museum just shortly after all of this happened. (read below)You decide for yourself why he is leaving?

    I do know this. Dale's father who was at the museum that day greeting folks (especially the ladies), told me that when Dale moved his museum from Mt. Vernon Illinois to Maggie Valley, a forty foot trailer was loaded up for each trip. It took a total of 74 trips to move everything. I just couldn't imagine all the work that was.

    The following is an article from one of the newspapers in the Maggie Valley area. If I can locate the date of this article I will post it.

    Walksler, Reece have altercation at meeting
    By Becky Johnson • Staff Writer

    Two members of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority from Maggie Valley got in a physical altercation last week during a Maggie Valley Visitors Bureau board meeting.

    Wade Reece physically removed Dale Walksler, owner of Wheels Through Time Museum, from the board meeting after Walkser showed up to chastise the board for not doing more to promote his museum.

    A disagreement between Walksler and Lynn Collins, director of the Maggie Visitors Bureau, cropped up last Friday morning when Walksler showed up at the visitor center with a request. Walksler wanted Collins to write a letter to The Mountaineer newspaper rebutting a statement in an editorial column that Maggie did not have an anchor attraction. Walksler said his museum is an anchor attraction. Collins said she would have to ask her board of directors whether writing a response was warranted or appropriate and would do so at their board meeting later that day.

    On Walksler’s way out, he ran into a family of visitors who had arrived for the weekend and were looking of something to do. The family had not been told about his museum. Walksler took them to the museum and gave them a personal tour. They loved it, he said.

    Walkser returned to the visitor center and began fussing at the staff for not telling visitors about his museum. He gathered visitor center staff, volunteers and a few tourists in the lobby for an announcement. He then told the visitor staff they were inept and stupid, that he was resigning and was considered moving his museum and Maggie would be sorry, according to witnesses.

    Walksler came back to the visitor center that afternoon looking for the board meeting. A visitor center volunteer told Walksler the board meeting was being held at Caroline’s Wedding Chapel, a board member’s business. The volunteer then called Collins on her cell phone and told her Walksler appeared to be on the way there. Walksler did not show up immediately, but did show up.

    “Everyone was somewhat startled because he came crashing through the door,” Collins said. Walksler then threw a newspaper column at the board members from the town in Illinois where his museum was located before he uprooted it and moved to Maggie six years ago. The column was titled “Mt. Vernon should learn from loss of local museum.”

    Wade Reece, a board member of the Maggie Visitors Bureau, got up and told Walksler to leave. Meanwhile, Collins called the police from her cell phone.

    When Walksler would not leave, Reece grabbed Walksler and a tried to remove him from the room. Maggie Valley police soon arrived. The owner of the wedding chapel, Caroline Edwards, filed a trespassing complaint on grounds Walksler would not leave the premises after being asked to. The report by Officer Archie Shuler stated: “Caroline Edwards, the owner of the business, asked Mr. Walksler to leave the property and not return. I explained to Mr. Walksler if he returned he would be charged with trespassing. My Walksler stated he was assaulted and threatened by Mr. Wade Reece. I explained to Mr. Walksler how to handle any complains with the magistrate through the warrant process.”

    Walksler has not field assault charges against Reece.

    Long time coming

    Walksler resigned from the chamber, but to be certain, the chamber board sent him a letter telling him he was no longer welcome as a member and to stay away from the premises.

    “We asked him not to come back because of his disruptive behavior, not to return to the visitor center office,” said Teresa Smith, chairman of the Maggie Visitors Bureau board of directors.

    Walksler’s complaint against the Maggie Valley Visitors Bureau (a.k.a. the Maggie Chamber of Commerce) has been going on for years. Walksler alleged the Maggie Visitors Bureau discriminates against his nationally reknowned motorcycle and antique car museum. Despite being one of the top attractions in the area, Walksler claimed the visitor’s bureau does not tell visitors about it.

    Lynn Collins, director of the Maggie Visitors Bureau, said they have a responsibility to treat all their members equally, not promote one attraction more than another.

    “We do not give everyone who walks in this door one of his brochures,” Collins said. “We cannot do that for everybody.”

    Walksler claims his museum is of a different caliber than the other attractions in Maggie, which are largely limited to evening entertainment venues. Walksler said people come to Maggie specifically to see Wheels Through Time, while the same could not be said of the other attractions in the Valley other than Cataloochee Ski Area in the winter.

    “Their job is sharing with any visitor the things to do in the community,” Walksler said of the visitors center.

    Walksler made a peace offering to the chamber about 18 months ago: a potted plant to symbolize his desire the chamber and museum grow together. But the chamber still did not inform visitors of his museum, Walksler said. Walksler gave the chamber a stack of coupons nine months ago to hand out to visitors coming to his museum. The chamber would get a dollar for every coupon Walksler got. Walksler said only 46 have been used by museum visitors, indicating the visitor center is not giving them out.

    Smith said the visitor center cannot be a promotion arm for a single attraction.

    “We have treated Dale’s business as we treat every other business that is a member of our organization,” Smith said. “He has asked us to do things what are above and beyond what we would normally do for other businesses. Our response has always been he gets the same benefits of being a member as everyone else.”

    Walksler’s museum is considered of Smithsonian quality in the world of motorcycles and antique automobiles. It is the regular subject of magazine stories and travel articles. Take this story last May in the Chicago Tribune:

    “If you’re a motorcycle fan, you no doubt know all about the Guggenheim Museum’s Art of the Motorcycle exhibit. You’ve wandered among the amazing bike displays and the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham and may have ridden to Maggie Valley to see historic American machines in Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time Museum.”

    Collins said they have to serve the needs of visitors.

    “We ask specifically what they are interested in we ask them questions and we listen,” Collins said of the visitor center strategy with tourists. The visitor staff and volunteers then provides appropriate information.

    Walksler said there is no reason not to tell everyone about the most popular “thing to do” in Maggie.

    “People from all over the world come to Wheels Through Time who have read about it in national and international publications,” Walksler said. “I’ve brought 200,000 people to this town. It is an economic generator for this town.”
  3. Randall K. Wilson

    Randall K. Wilson Junior Member

    I stand corrected: The article in the Smokey Mountain News by Becky Johnson was from the week of 6-7-06. Hence since the scrap at meeting, I dare say things have gone downhill. The honeymoon in Maggie Valley is over. :dknow:nosad:panic:bigsmiley31::boxing

    My visit was in June of '08.

    Another related article I read, there were opinions to the editor from Maggie Valley "locals" who complained about the bikers coming into town making a lot of noise with their motorcycles. Further lamenting they didn't care much for the Dales's museum being in Maggie Valley.
  4. Randall K. Wilson

    Randall K. Wilson Junior Member

    Now this I did not know about. When I visited the museum this past June, I didn't know about all of this legacy!!! It just seems a shame to me that it is closing.

    Wheels Through Time Closing?
    3/19/2008 12:35:14 PM
    by Richard Backus


    Word comes that Dale Walksler, owner and curator of the renowned Wheels Through Time Museum (Wheels Through Time - Home) in Maggie Valley, N.C., is selling off a major chunk of his collection and moving out of the Maggie Valley digs he’s called home since 2002. Since moving in, Walksler has built up one of the most incredible collections of vintage American motorcycles in the world, featuring examples of rare marques like Dayton, Pope and Yale, and with one-of-a-kind bikes like Traub and Flesher. With this announced sale, it appears the museum as we know it is coming to an end.

    According to Walksler, the museum is shifting gears and embracing a new initiative, Wheels Around the World, with a goal toward providing motorcycles and curatorial services to groups and institutions interested in putting on exhibits of their own. Walksler says the new program “will allow the history of American motorcycles to be shared with a larger audience than only those able to visit the physical museum itself.” Walksler says he’ll be offering full exhibit development to organizations interested in promoting motorcycle history.

    While we’re sure the challenges of running a museum must be great, it seemed that Walksler’s Wheels Through Time had met with great success; ever met anyone who didn’t know about it? Be that as it may, Walksler has scheduled an auction of 150 of his prized collection, to be held on the museum grounds Sept. 25-27, 2008, with RM Auctions running the show. That will leave some 200 bikes in the collection, certainly more than enough to provide for Walksler’s new program. Still, we think it’s a shame the bikes are going to be split up, and that vintage motorcycle fans are losing a seminal collection of vintage American bikes. – Richard Backus
  5. okennon1

    okennon1 Member

    Thanks for the response. It's a good 8 hour trek from here and I've done it a dozen times.If I never fight the crowd at Deals Gap again I'll be happy.
    Whoever was right or wrong the Maggie businesses wil be sorry. He was just (EDITED) cause they wouldn't let him smoke his stogie in the wedding chapel......
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2008
  6. Randall K. Wilson

    Randall K. Wilson Junior Member

    Well this whole thing about Dale's museum has some irony. I was riding in June with a group of about 8 Harley's. We did Deal's Gap coming from the south to the north ending up at a Cabin in Gatlingburg TN. for a few days.

    The next day, late morning we headed out. I didn't know where we were going, I just wanted to ride and away we went. Later in the afternoon our Parade Captain led up into Maggie Valley. We had a late lunch and then as we were departing Maggie Valley noticed the Museum.

    We pulled in and paid I think 15 bucks to see the museum. We knew the museum was closing in about an hour and a half, but toured it just the same. To me the museum was one of the most interesting spectacles I had experienced in a long time....I was like a Hawg in slop. That visit will never dim from my memory. Dale, who I got to talk to personally was a bondified, fortifide, certified, expert of vintage motorcycles.

    I left with the thought...."shucks! I wish we had gotten here earlier!"

    So if you have made the trip there eight times and visited the museum each time, well, I'm jealous. I left the museum thinking clearly that I would return someday and spend the ENTIRE DAY enjoying all the wonders of the old bikes. However when I departed I didn't know about the legacy and that the days of the museum were numbered.

    My idea of re-visiting the Museum.....
    will never come to fruition. Bummer! :bigsmiley19:
  7. whatyardwork

    whatyardwork Banned

    Holy crap thats an intense read..and here I figured he lost a bet..if the Cards make the playoffs you gotta move.
  8. Randall K. Wilson

    Randall K. Wilson Junior Member

    What art thou are thee talking about? :dknow:dknow:dknow Please respond.