Now, with more than 40 Bikes in his collection, he wants to become more serious and recently opened his own Vintage Motorcycle Museum at 545 N. Market Blvd. in downtown Chehalis.
"I'm hoping just to get to the point where I can keep it open more hours," says Mason, who currently shows his collection from 9-1 weekdays, or by appointment. Mason and his wife Barbara specialize in pre-1916 motorcycles. The 6,000 square-foot, two story museum houses original, as well as fully restored pre-1916 Indians, Harley Davidson, Excelsior,
Barbara Mason tries out the side car of husband
Franks' vintage Harley Davidson Motorcycle
Builders' need to relax helps create motorcycle museum
BY KAMILLA K. McCLEELAND
Business Examiner Staff
Pierce, Emblem, Thor, Sears, Yale, and Reading Standard motorcycles. It is also home to an Amphi Car, an amphibious car that stopped production in the late 1960s as well as an assortment of antique bicycles made of wood, including an example of first American-made bicycle from the 1800s.
Motorcycles aren't the only things the Masons collect. They have an inventory of historical buildings and homes they purchased and refurbished over the years. Among the most recent acquisitions are the Chehalis Historic Hotel Washington and adjoining 1920's Foster Bakery Building which houses the motorcycle museum. Recognized for their work, the Masons' received the 1999 Washington State Historic Preservation Award from Gov. Gary Locke.
The 12,000 square-foot hotel was purchased by the Masons following a 1997 fire that destroyed much of the 1889 building. The Mason were able to save two of the buildings' former four stories. The first floor is home to a fine dinning Italian Restaurant, a Knitting Shop, and a Beauty Salon, along with several other retail tenants.
The Masons are working to join forces with other museums in town; the Veterans Memorial, the Lewis County Historical Museum located in the turn-of-century Northern Pacific Railroad Depot, and the Chehalis-Centralia Steam Train. Lund's Historic Movie house located directly across the street from them shows first run movies daily. They are asking for joint directional signage along the freeway." We are so close to the freeway", Mason said, "and we want people to come see the kind of historical downtown Chehalis has to offer."
BACK IN THE 1970s, builder Frank Mason of Frank A. Mason Building Construction decided he needed a break from working seven days a week. So, innocently enough, he started a hobby -- collecting antique motorcycles.