Tag Archives: history channel

Photo provided by the Figge Art Museum

When our local art museum, the Figge Art Museum, contacted us to see if we had any leads on a late women’s 1800s bicycle for their upcoming exhibit–our response was, “Yes! In Mike’s house!” Mike has had an amazing women’s bicycle tucked away in his private collection for years and we’re thrilled to announce that it’s now on loan as part of an incredible exhibit, Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960.

The Model-A Lindsay Roadster

Photo of the Model-A Lindsay Roadster Women’s Bicycle at the Figge Art Museum

This Model-A Lindsay Roadster was produced by the Lindsay Brothers out of Milwaukee, WI. What makes this particular bike so special is that it has wooden rims, wooden fenders, a wooden chain guard, and a wicker child’s seat that attaches to the front fork and handlebars. Bicycles from this era really helped revolutionize women’s visibility and how they dressed. We’re honored to be able to share a little bit of that history with you and the Figge Art Museum.

The removable wicker child’s seat allowed the rider to bring their child with them at a time when women didn’t have as much mobility.

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the other pieces from this amazing collection!

Details from the motorcycle and hunting exhibits.
Western wear exhibit.
Details from snowshoeing and flower picking exhibit.

Where To See The Exhibit

Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 is now on display through May 7th at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. Click here to learn more and schedule your trip to see this one-of-a-kind exhibit.

More Information

Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 highlights ensembles worn by women active in the sporting world from the turn of the nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Examining the competing priorities of style, function, and propriety, Sporting Fashion reconstructs a material history of women in sport through the garments and accessories that enabled them to compete and excel. The exhibition features sixty-four fully accessorized ensembles and a selection of sport-related accessories and ephemera drawn from the collections of the FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Exhibiting 19th-century bathing and bicycling garments alongside 20th-century apparel for boxing and aviation, the exhibition displays the modernity, individuality, and mobility of the “new woman” and demonstrates the continued fight for equality.

Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 is organized into eight themes. Each explores how clothing met the needs of new pursuits for women: Stepping OutdoorsFurther Afield, Taking the ReinsMaking WavesSubzero StyleWheels and WingsHaving a Ball, and A Team Effort. The exhibition includes ensembles for activities ranging from yachting to calisthenics, and from motorcycling to promenading.  To complement the artifacts on view, a timeline of key events and biographies of sixteen important sportswomen further situates sporting fashion in the broader context of women’s social history.

Sporting Fashion is curated by Kevin L. Jones, FIDM Museum Curator, and Christina M. Johnson, FIDM Museum Associate Curator.

The illustrated 344-page catalogue with a foreword by Serena Williams is one of the very few authoritative publications on the development and evolution of women’s athletic attire. 

Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles.

Support for the national tour is provided by the AFA’s Gold Medal Circle: Elizabeth Belfer, Stephanie Borynack Clark, Ashleigh Fernandez, Lee White Galvis, Stephanie R. La Nasa, Merrill Mahan, Clare E. McKeon, Jennifer New, Angela Timashev, and Victoria Ershova Triplett.


What is a Memory Jug?

Memory jugs are 19th-20th century artifacts that were commonly made to commemorate someone’s life, a memento mori of sorts, that could be used to mark a loved one’s grave. They were also made to display within your home as a reminder of those we’ve lost. Memory jugs are made by wrapping clay around a vessel (it could be anything from a ceramic mug to a metal vase) and then decorating the clay with objects of importance. Each memory and item is embedded into the vessel, creating a mosaic of stories and pieces of one’s life.

Memory jugs from Mike’s personal collection.

The History

Memory jugs are tied to African and African American burial practices, traditionally made by the Bakongo people in Central and West Africa as grave markers. The practice migrated to America with the importation of slaves and was mostly practiced within African-American communities in the South.

Once into the 20th century, memory jugs became more of a popular craft and could be seen on anything from plates to picture frames. Mike picked this plate last year while filming.

During the Victorian era, memory jugs became a popular craft that became more of a sculptural art form than a memorial. This period brought in crafts like scrapbooking, decorating frames, and an overall interest in eclectic objects—so it seems only natural that the memory jug transforms at this time. The objects added to the memory jugs shift from personal mementos to sea shells, broken pieces of glass, marbles, porcelain doll parts, etc. Due to their uniqueness and history, they are often sought after by folk art and antique collectors alike.

Now that we know a little more about the history of the memory jug and its importance, let’s make our own!

We love that you can utilize broken pieces of jewelry or china that would otherwise be thrown away!

DIY Memory Jug

Materials Needed:

Drop cloth or table cloth – It’s going to get very dirty so don’t use something special.

Sturdy vessel – This can really be anything you have on hand; a mason jar, old vase, PVC pipe, etc. We grabbed our vase from a thrift store.

Mortar or clay – We used a quick-setting cement from the hardware store but you can also grab pre-mixed mortars that are really easy to use! We haven’t tried it with clay but would be curious how it turns out since that’s how they were historically made!

Misc. objects and trinkets – This can literally be anything and depends if you’d like your piece to be personal, artistic, or both! Our objects are a collection of vintage jewelry parts, sea shells, vintage Cracker Jack charms, old keys, worry dolls, etc. There are no rules, get as creative as you’d like!

Mallet or Hammer – To break larger pieces up, like old tiles or china!


-Clean the surface of the vessel. This will help ensure that the mortar adheres securely.

-Set up your workspace with a drop cloth and all of your needed materials. And throw on an apron too, this project can get messy!

We used our hands but you can also use a putty knife to apply the mortar.

-Start applying the mortar to the vessel. Make sure it’s thick enough for the objects to stick to it, you shouldn’t be able to see your vessel through the mortar.

Push each piece into the mortar until secure.

-Once the mortar is applied to your liking, you can add on all of your objects! If you’re using a quick-drying mortar like we did, you need to apply the objects quickly. If the mortar begins to harden before you decorate it completely, just keep applying more mortar until the vessel is covered will all of your objects. And remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect! We love how all of the imperfections give it more character!

We let our memory jug cure for a full 24 hours before moving it.

-When you’re happy with how your memory jug looks and all of your objects are secure in the mortar, set it aside to cure. This can take up to 24 hours but will depend on the type of mortar used. Follow the instructions on your mortar package.

-After your memory jug is all cured, place it in a spot where you can admire it daily!

If you make your own memory jug be sure to share it with us on Instagram, we can’t wait to see what y’all come up with!


There are 2 things you can do this time of year; escape the cold with a sunny, beach vacation or lean into the season and get snowed in with a cozy winter getaway. We’ve put together some rentals that have us dreaming of the latter. Think—soft clothes, steamy mugs, crackling fires, and falling snowflakes. Let’s go!

The Cozy Cuyuna Cove Cabins – Crosby, MN

These husband and wife-owned cabins have everything that a dreamy winter escape should have. Located right on the Cuyuna Mountain Bike trail and just a couple blocks away from Main Street, you can adventure in the great outdoors while not being completely remote and off the beaten path. Take in the snowy sights from the large windows and fight off the chill with their redwood sauna. We know this spot is sure to cure those winter blues. Click here to see more.

Modern Treetop Shipping Container – Dundee, OH

Photos from Treehouse Village-The Box AirBnb

Relax and unplug amidst the trees at The Box. This rental is a modern-designed shipping container that has a queen bed, full bath, and kitchenette. Featuring huge windows that overlook the treetops, it’s the perfect place to curl up with a book and enjoy the peace and quiet of winter. Located in a rural area, the wifi is limited so be ready to turn off your phone and fully relax. Stay at The Box here.

Mid-Century A-Frame in the Poconos – Hamlin, PA

Photos from Midcentury A-frame in the Poconos AirBnb

This mid-century dream is nestled into the snowy trees of the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania and just 2 hours from New York City. Located within a gated community, the featured amenities are top-notch. Like, “2 lakes, ski hill with lift, sauna, art center, and gym” top-notch. This amazing A-Frame boasts a full chef’s kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and the most incredible bathtub with a view. Make yourself a cup of coffee with the Nespresso machine and take a soak while the snow falls. Book the A-Frame here.

The Snowy Stone Abode – Sandgate, VT

Photos from Dome House “Whimsical Stone Abode” AirBnb

“The best possible combination between the postcard-perfect cliffside suites of Santorini and a hobbit house.” – Boston Magazine. This truly one-of-a-kind rental is located in Sandgate, Vermont, just 25 minutes from Manchester and Bennington, VT. Let the snow pile up outside while you’re cozied up next to the stove. This stay is truly like staying in your very own snow fort. Explore the Stone Abode here!

Guest House of the Adirondacks – Speculator, NY

Photos from The Guest House AirBnb

Welcome to your picturesque winter getaway. Located just 1 mile from the Oak Mountain Ski Center and 39 miles to Core Mountain Ski Center, this rental is perfect for the whole family. Enjoy access to the Adirondack hiking trails and walking distance to the small village of Speculator (which has a population of just 400). After all of that winter adventuring, warm up around the backyard fire pit or enjoy a cup of tea in the four-seasons porch. Book a getaway at the Guest House!

Winter on the Shire – Kenoza Lake, NY

Photos from The Shire: Two Cottages AirBnb

These unique hobbit homes are located on a vast 97-acre farm in the Catskill Mountains with rolling hills, 4 large ponds, and trails through snowy woods—this rental will make you feel like you’re in a winter wonderland. And if that doesn’t sound perfect enough, the property also features a wood-fired hot tub and sauna! Experience the best of winter while you’re cuddled up in your own peaceful hobbit home. Stay in Kenoza Lake, NY!


Previously published in Des Moines Register by Courtney Crowder on January 9th, 2023

Iowan and “American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe says he’s starting 2023 by “sharing the love” — his love of vintage motorcycles, that is.

Wolfe, a premiere collector of historic bikes, is selling more than 60 pieces, nearly half of his private collection, during the world’s largest motorcycle auction scheduled for Jan. 24-28 in Las Vegas.

“All of these bikes have had a special place in my heart and a lot of incredible moments finding them that I will never forget,” Wolfe wrote on Instagram announcing the sale.

“But I understand that their journey doesn’t end with me. I’m excited about the next chapter for these motorcycles and the new journey they will be going on.”

Wolfe, who will appear at the auction, has sold bikes on and off over the years, but never at this scale. “It’s just time,” he said during a phone interview from his motorcycle warehouse in Tennessee, adding that reducing his collection will allow him to focus on acquiring his favorite pieces: motorcycles built before 1920.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m in the moving business. I’m moving this over here, so I can put that over there,” he said. “I’m going to be 60 in a few years, and I’m starting to think about: What do I want my collection to be?

“What I’m going through right now is kind of what a lot of people that I film with are going through,” he added. “We get a call like, ‘Hey, I need to start downsizing. I need to start focusing. I need to start really appreciating the things that I truly, truly love.’ And that’s what I’m doing.”

Mike Wolfe’s store Antique Archaeology draws many visitors to LeClaire. Zach Boyden-Holmes/TheRegister

Amassed over decades of “picking” — what fans of his mega-hit reality show call Wolfe’s trademark backroads antique hunting — this collection features “some of the world’s rarest and most highly sought-after motorcycles,” including models of Harley-Davidsons and Indians that are “legends” within the collecting community, according to Mecum Auctions, the firm handling the sale.

Wolfe is “a knowledgeable collector. For the most part, I think he’s a nuts-and-bolts guy; he wants to know what makes a machine tick,” Greg Arnold, director of the motorcycle division at Mecum, said in a video previewing the sale. “But he’s also intensely interested in its history, who owned it, when and why.”

“Every motorcycle in his collection, he picked on purpose. It wasn’t just a random acquisition. He seeks these motorcycles out.”

A 1948 Harley Davidson EL Panhead with sidecar will be auctioned off as part of Mike Wolfe’s As Found Collection. Photos courtesy of Mecum Auctions, Inc.

‘The alleys were safe places’: How a difficult childhood led to ‘picking’

The history of objects — motorcycles and otherwise — has fascinated Wolfe since he was a thin, lanky, poor kid in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Mercilessly picked on most of his childhood, Wolfe previously told the Register he started cutting through yards and alleys on his way to and from school to avoid being jumped by bullies.

“The alleys were safe places for me, and that’s where the garbage was, too,” Wolfe said. “And so the garbage became my toys and they became part of my imagination and they became part of who I was.”

Along the way, he made friends with the old men whose garages overflowed with rusty junk, spending hours chatting with them about bygone days. One day, he stumbled onto a discarded bicycle — a luxury his mother could never afford — and his love for anything on two wheels was born.

In his early 20s, he worked in a warehouse building bikes before being promoted to the sales floor. His garbage collecting officially became “picking,” and he kept it up because, he said, “It’s hard to sell a bicycle in January in Iowa.” Antique motorcycles soon became one of his main collecting focuses.

Mike Wolfe chats with customers in his store Antique Archaeology in LeClaire. Zach Boyden-Holmes/TheRegister

Before the internet, Wolfe picked in the only way he knew how — by knocking on farm doors. Once again, he found himself spending hours talking to old men about their lives and the stuff they’d gathered along the way.

Sometimes, all that reminiscing yielded nothing.

But sometimes, he found a gem.

Motorcycles will be sold ‘as found’

As a practice, Wolfe never cleans or restores his bikes, save for a bit of rewiring and mechanics to get engines road-ready again. He’s even been known to leave cobwebs on spokes or a bit of animal poop on rims.

So, appropriately, Wolfe’s lot is being sold “as found,” meaning the bikes will bear the rust, dirt and scrapes of whatever farm, corn crib, attic or cellar he sifted through to find them.

“I’ve always celebrated the fact of something being ‘as found’ because I’ve wanted to continue its journey with me the same way I found it,” he said. “I feel connected to it, if I leave it ‘as found.’”

An “as found” bike is “telling you its story as you’re looking at it,” he added. “Now, if I was to clean this thing, or take it apart and restore it, it would immediately mean not much to me at all because then you start looking at the restoration and you stop looking at the history of the bike.”

Outside of the auction, Wolfe’s plate remains full. The newest 30-episode season of “American Pickers” has just premiered on the History Channel and he’s already started filming next season. In fact, he’ll be driving to Vegas directly from a shoot in California.

Schedule permitting, he tries to get back to Iowa one week a month, he said. Recently, he purchased two more buildings in LeClaire — home to his original Antique Archaeology store — and plans to rent them out under his Two Lanes Guest House bed-and-breakfasts brand.

But don’t worry, Wolfe has no plans to slow down — on TV, in life or with motorcycles.

“I just bought three bikes last week,” he said with a laugh.

A 1919 Indian Military Twin that will be auctioned off as part of Mike Wolfe’s As Found Collection. Photo courtesy of Mecum Auctions, Inc.

Mike Wolfe motorcycle sale highlights:

  • Multiple 1930s-’40s Indian Fours
  • 1936-’37 Harley-Davidson Knuckleheads
  • 1909 Yale Single
  • 1919 Indian Military Twin in historic olive drab
  • 1921 Harley-Davidson JD with sidecar
  • 1914 Harley Davidson racing twin with intact racing engine
  • 1937 Harley Davidson UL, the first year for the U series

How to join the sale

32nd Annual Mecum Las Vegas Vintage & Antique Motorcycle AuctionSouth Point Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Jan. 24-28. Motorcycle auctions beginning at 10 a.m. Admission is $20 in advance or $30 at the door, per person, per day.Options for in-person, telephone and internet bidding start at $100. Learn more at mecum.com.

Bring your camera and parka to LeClaire’s Eagle Festival!

If you didn’t know before, you’ll know now! LeClaire, Iowa is one of the best spots in the entire country to view and photograph Bald Eagles. This section of the cold, icy, Mississippi River attracts hundreds of Bald Eagles each year to hunt and nest, thanks to the Woodland Reserve at Lock and Dam 14 just south of LeClaire. And since the secret is out, LeClaire is gearing up for it’s first inaugural Eagle Festival on January 21st and 22nd!

Take in the beauty of the Mississippi and it’s local residents.

The Eagles of LeClaire

Each winter, hundreds of majestic Bald Eagles make LeClaire their winter home, soaring through the skies high above the Mississippi River (read more about the Eagles of LeClaire here). LeClaire’s Eagle Festival offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see our incredible national symbol in its natural habitat while also experiencing live presentations and educational opportunities for all ages, in the warm comfort of the Celebration Center!

Watch as these incredible birds hunt right on the river.

Live Bird Presentations

You’ll get up close and personal with live birds from Wild Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis, MO. Their sanctuary has treated more than 21,000 injured birds and has helped organize conservation efforts on 4 continents. Get a bird’s eye view of the eagles hunting for food with Brian “Fox” Willis and his spotting scope on the Celebration Center’s rooftop patio. Watch as these incredible birds circle and fly above the mighty Mississippi and swoop down to grab their dinner!

Don’t miss the ice sculptures that will be taking shape all weekend!

Admire Icy Art

Another feature of the weekend is sure to impress, thanks to Rob Storm, a local ice carver who will be carving 6 ice sculptures along historic Cody Road. Come see them take shape as Rob cuts and saws through the ice. The finished sculptures will be on display throughout town for all to enjoy.

@codyroadcoffeecompany/ @mrdistilling

Fight Off The Chill

And of course, LeClaire has lots of spots to warm up too! The cold doesn’t stand a chance against the Mississippi River Distilling Company’s heated, outdoor cocktail castles and seasonal drink menu (we recommend trying their Iowish Cream Liquor). And there’s always something cozy and delicious at Cody Road Coffee to help fight off the chill.

So, grab your parka and camera—it’s time to experience LeClaire in the winter. Click here for event schedule and additional information.

@thenatcheztrace / @natcheztracenps

It’s officially our most favorite time of the year! The cooler air is giving way to the crisp beauty of autumn colors. And one of our favorite spots to soak in the magic of this season is right in the backyard of Nashville, TN. With each bend of the road, the trees showcase their new colors of deep shades of reds and yellows, this is the Natchez Trace. The leaf peeper’s dream!

History of Natchez Trace

Its beauty is literally just the start of what makes this historical path so special. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile scenic road that twists up from Natchez, Mississippi, into Northern Alabama and finally to Nashville, Tennessee.

It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” which was a series of trails through the woodlands, forged by prehistoric animals and Native Americans. It was eventually utilized by Euro-Americans for trade up through the 19th century and received its name, the Natchez Trace. Mainly used for trade until the rise of the steamboat moved trade to the Mississippi River, the Natchez Trace was neglected. Interest in this historic route was revived in the early 20th century by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). They led the movement to preserve and honor the Natchez Trace’s heritage and history. Construction of this historic parkway began in 1938 but wasn’t fully completed until 2005.

@southernhistorylore / @natcheztracenps

What To See

The parkway stretches through 3 states and also boasts multiple easy-access pull-offs at historical spots and markers; memorializing Native American mounds, Chickasaw stand sites, and even the grave of the explorer Meriwether Lewis (Lewis & Clark expedition).

@thenatcheztrace / @natcheztracenps

Another famous spot within the parkway is the Double Arch Bridge, just south of Nashville at milepost 438. The bridge was completed in 1994 and rises 155 feet above the valley of Birdsong Hollow and offers incredible views of the area.

@thenatcheztrace / @natcheztracenps

When To Go

Natchez Trace is now one of the most popular routes in the region, attracting tourists from all over the country to travel its twists and turns. Whether you jump on your motorcycle or hop in your car, the colors and scenery of the season are sure to impress. We also recommend stopping off the parkway to explore our Backroad General Store Tour, whenever you need to fuel up or grab a bologna sandwich!

@thenatcheztrace / @natcheztracenps

And be sure to check out the The Natchez Trace Fall Color Guide to ensure the best time for your leaf-peeping adventure!

Have you been to Natchez Trace? Where do you love to go during autumn? Tell us below in the comments!


Every year during the last few hot days of summer,  gear heads and moto nuts from all over the world flock to the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa for the world-renowned Chief Blackhawk Antique Motorcycle Swap Meet. What started with just a few motorcycle lovers some 51 years ago under a shade tree, exploded to attract thousands of people each year and has become the largest vintage motorcycle swap meet in America. Overnight, the fairgrounds are transformed into a little city with over 1000 vendors buying and selling anything related to antique motorcycles from the turn of the century to the 1970s. 

From antique & vintage motorcycles, bicycles, signage, parts and memorabilia–this swap has it all.

For All The Pickers

Mike has had his spot at the swap meet for almost 30 years and never misses the opportunity to see his old friends and score rare treasures. He has loved motorcycles since he was little but the swap meet is where he fell in love with the history of the motorcycle.

“So many of these vendors are my mentors and this swap has been a true coming of age for me as a picker,” says Wolfe. “It’s a community of like-minded people that love transportation history and anything with two wheels.”

A favorite night of the swap meet is the motorcycle races. Here you can see riders race motorcycles that age from the early 1900s to the 1960s on a flat, dirt oval track. 

Racers at the starting line, ready to hit the track and racing poster from 2018.

One of the people that help make this swap the success it is, is Wanda Schumacher. “She wears a lot of hats but what I love about her the most is that she’s everyone’s mama and she takes care of us,” says Mike.

Wanda Schumacher, Swap Meet Mama and Staff

World Known and Loved

With that family-like atmosphere and an unrivaled selection of everything vintage motorcycle, it’s no wonder that this swap brings people from all over the world, over 20 different countries to be exact (and counting).

Visit www.chiefblackhawk.org for the latest information and dates for next year’s swap meet! We can’t wait to see you out there!


Most midwesterners can tell you a thing or two about corn, but did you know that we like to get lost in it too? Every fall, we look forward to pumpkins, changing leaves, cool autumn nights, and you guessed it—corn mazes!

Examples of mazes used in gardening and tiles.

History of Mazes

Mazes and labyrinths date back some 4000 years ago to the time of Ancient Greece and Rome. They were seen as artwork and thought to help realize one’s purpose, a type of self-awakening that one could find while being lost within the maze. Unlike corn mazes, which are cut into a pattern or theme each year, garden mazes were cut into geometric patterns (think of the labyrinth in The Shining). Those same geometric motifs can also be seen in ancient tiles, art, and more.

Bird’s eye view of a maze pattern cut into a corn field.

The First Corn Maze

Corn mazes don’t date back nearly as far as ancient labyrinths—the first corn maze was built in 1993 by Don Frantz and Adrian Fisher in Annville, Pennsylvania, on 3 acres on land and almost 2 miles of paths. It also received the title of “World’s Largest Corn Maze” by Guinness Book of World Records (which has now been held by the Cool Patch Pumpkins for their 60-acre maze in Dixon, CA since 2014).

Popular around Halloween, haunted corn mazes are sure to get your blood pumping!

Haunted Corn Mazes

Looking for a little more excitement? No problem, there are haunted corn mazes too! Hosted at night, carefully walk through the dimly lit pathways and hold your breath while you approach the next turn—you never know what or who will pop out!

Here are some of our favorite corn mazes so whether you’re coming to see us in Iowa or Tennessee, you can get in on the corny fun!

-Pride of the Wapsi – Long Grove, Iowa

-Schuster’s Pumpkin Patch and Maze – Dubuque, Iowa

-Shuckles Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch – Greenbrier, Tennessee

-Lucky Lad Farms – Eagleville, Tennessee

Do you plan on visiting a corn maze this season? Tell us about your local corn maze in the comments!