Vintage Viking finds new home at Milam Historical Museum
There is a new resident at the old county jail! And no, it’s not an inmate, lawman, or even a stray cat. It is a classic Chevy truck.
Since 2014, the Milam County Historical Museum has been the proud owner of a 1959 Model Chevrolet “Viking” flat-bed truck. This vehicle was used in the 1950’s and ‘60’s to deliver fresh fruits, vegetables, and other groceries from the McLane Company. At that time, the McLane Warehouses were in downtown Cameron at the corner of First and Fannin Streets. The afore-mentioned Chevy Viking was used at that location.
The McLane story began in downtown Cameron in 1894 with Robert McLane and continued for years under the direction of his son, Drayton McLane, Sr. A fleet of 1959 Chevrolet trucks, including the Viking which is now part of the MCHM, enabled the McLane Company to expand its marketing area beyond the original Cameron base. As chairman of the McLane Group, which is now headquartered in Temple, Drayton McLane, Jr. continued to expand his family’s business into an internationally recognized company. It is McLane, Jr, also well known for his generosity, who had the vintage Chevy fully restored prior to donating it to the Milam County Historical Museum.
Additionally, the generous contribution of longtime MCHM board member, Mr. A.G. “Bud” Hajovsky of Cameron, has made it possible for the restored McLane truck to be viewed by the public. Hajovsky, who once owned the Western Auto Store in downtown Cameron, has provided a brand new building to house the sixty-four year old truck.
Freshly painted inside and out, this former grocery delivery truck features a flat-bed with stained wooden slats in the back. The impressive front end houses an in-line straight six engine. It also has a standard transmission with a starter switch mounted on the driver’s side floorboard. On each of the truck’s cab doors is proudly printed “McLane Wholesale Grocers Cameron, Texas.” But, perhaps the most unique and historic lettering is the bygone phone number which reads “Dial OX7-4687.” The truck’s flashy red and white paint job makes it appear brand new and ready for daily deliveries.
According to Hajovsky, “the museum board members have used the old McLane truck in past Cameron Christmas parades.” He also said, “Charlotte Pipe was very generous to allow the Milam County Museum to store the vehicle for years, free of charge.” Now it has a new home in the Transportation Exhibit Building next door to the Old Milam County Jail Museum. This metal structure at Main and Fannin Streets in Cameron is dedicated in memory of Mrs. Barbara Harry Hajovsky, MCHM board president from 2009-2012. For this new exhibit building, we owe Mr. Hajovsky a great deal of gratitude and appreciation.
If you have an appreciation for vintage forms of transportation, stop by the old Milam County Jail Museum on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can also make an appointment to see the old truck at the Milam County Museum located at 112 W. First Street in downtown Cameron. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday-Saturday. Come view or sit in our newest resident, McLane’s ‘59 Chevrolet truck, and imagine what it was like to deliver groceries to the people of Cameron and other communities in days gone by.