Tag Archives: automobiles

From the Collection: Soapbox Derby Car

derby-car-detail-2

The 1959 Minneapolis Soap Box Derby Champion, Jerry Houk, built this car called “Tinker Toy.” It went on to compete in the All American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio, where it was sponsored by the Minneapolis Jaycees.

The Minneapolis Jaycees are a group of young people, ages 16-40, committed to becoming stronger leaders by making positive change in their community through social action, personal growth, networking, and fellowship.

Soap Box Derby, which is a racing program involving unpowered, handmade cars, officially began in the United States in 1934.  At first a boys-only sport, girls were allowed to compete starting in 1971.  Historically, derby cars were made of a variety of materials, including soap or orange crates, sheet tin, and baby-buggy wheels.  Today, they are made of streamlined materials such as aluminum and fiberglass, and can reach speeds upwards of 30 miles per hour!

The first record of a soap box derby competition in the Twin Cities is in 1936 in St. Paul’s Highland Park. The prizes for first place a few years later included a $50 wristwatch, suit of clothes, gold medal, and an all-expenses paid trip to Akron, Ohio to compete in the national finals.

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Photo of the Week: Winter in Minnesota

Staff at Hennepin History Museum is split on the snow question. Good? Bad? Well,  at least none of us think it’s ugly – and it’s hard to beat the beauty of t snow-frosted Washburn Fair Oaks Park as seen from inside the windows in the museum’s cozy Fireplace Room. But when winter drags on and we get anxious for warmer temperatures and spring flowers, it can be nice to take a glimpse into the archives to get a reminder that those of living or working in or visiting Hennepin County today are following in long footsteps. Winter here is nothing new. Case in point: these cars, photographed in all their snow-covered glory in 1935. Looks like quite a storm!