Archives’ exhibit focuses on history of automobiles in Troup County

Published 8:30 am Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

BEEP! BEEP! Attention all car enthusiasts, the Troup County Archives and Legacy Museum currently has an exhibition titled, “Hitting the Road: A Review of Automotive History in LaGrange and Troup County.”

The exhibit is one of the Archives’ rotating galleries. This gallery, in particular, is a historical review of LaGrange’s automobile dealerships, cars, gas pumps, engines and more all led by Jim Biagi.

Biagi is currently leading behind-the-scene tours of the exhibition. The tours are set for Feb. 28, March 28, and April 18. Johnson said the automotive exhibition will be available until mid-June.

Executive Director Shannon Johnson said choosing Biagi as the exhibit’s automotive guide was a no-brainer.

“Jim is on our board, and we knew that he would know who to ask for stuff and that he himself would have a lot to contribute, along with a great deal of knowledge. It’s been fun having him lead the tours,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Biagi’s enthusiasm makes the tour rev to life.

“For someone who is not as interested in cars as maybe he is, he makes it interesting,” Johnson said. “His excitement and enthusiasm for the topic truly bring it to life.” 

Biagi said most of the pieces featured in the exhibit are sourced from people who were involved in the automotive industry in Troup County.

“Taylor Merrill is a guy who has a Model A, lent some model A engines and transmissions. Randall Cotton, who is also a collector, has loaned us a Chrysler Hemi engine, a gas pump and several other smaller items that relate to automotive,” Biagi said.

Biagi said he, along with Lamar McKeen, Zack Webb, and Ron Willis have loaned pieces of historical automotive that are featured in the exhibit.

In leading the tours, Biagi said the best part has been hearing the stories of those who attend.

“A number of people have come in here with a backstory and they go, ‘Oh, I know about that, let me tell you where that dealership was, and who the owners were’ or ‘When my friend and I were playing and we saw the first 257 Chevy’s ever to come to LaGrange, they ran them up the street and snuck them in the backyard and hid them until the announcement.’ Little stories like that are really fun,” Biagi said.

“It makes you want to record or document them because people experience history every day, and sometimes it gets lost.”

The guided behind-the-scenes tour of the exhibition begins at 7 p.m. at the Troup County Archives and Legacy Museum on Main located at 136 Main St.