The International Towing Museum in Chattanooga, TN features a Hall of Fame that includes more than 300 towing professionals from around the world. The museum offers interactions with tow trucks full of fun and nostalgia. More than two decades ago a group of towing professionals established the Friends of Towing with a mission to recognize, record the history of and display artifacts from the industry of towing and recovery around the world. The group designed a Hall of Fame on a Semi Trailer that was driven to trade shows and was called the Friends of Towing Hall of Fame and Museum. The first class of inductees included 27 towing professionals.
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The organization decided in 1995 to begin looking for a permanent location to establish a museum. The group chose Chattanooga Tennessee as it was the birth place of the first tow truck by inventor Ernest Holmes. The Hall of Fame was renamed International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum.
Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame was established by the Friends of Towing who nominated 27 members into the first class. Since 1986, there are now over 300 members with a new class being added in a ceremony each September. Those who are included in this Hall of Fame are people in the Towing and Recovery industry who have made a substantial contribution to the standards of the industry. Some of the inductees are businessmen others are inventors and manufacturers.
Induction Weekend- This is the weekend that new members are inducted into the hall of fame in a ceremony. The event is over a three-day weekend and reservations must be made and paid for in advance. This weekend package includes several social activities, hotel accommodations, fine dining selections. There are tiers of tickets available that include different options. This event is the biggest fundraiser for the International Towing and Recovery Museum and is held annually in September.
The major exhibits at the International Towing and Recovery Museum include the Hall of Fame and the wreckers that are on display for visitors to get up close and personal with. Most of the wreckers that are on the showroom floor have been completely restored. Exhibits can change frequently as new inductees are added annually to the Hall of Fame and new artifacts are being added to the collection.
Wall of the Fallen- This exhibit was dedicated as a permanent but ever evolving exhibit in September of 2006. Wall of the Fallen is a monument dedicated to towing operators who were killed while doing their jobs. The mission of the wall is to raise public awareness to the dangers involved in the towing industry and to commemorate the fatalities related to the career field. There are approximately 60 towing operators who are killed annually and the International Towing Museum has set up a fund to benefit survivor families. More information on this fund can be found online. Every September, new names are added to the wall in a special ceremony to honor the fallen.
1926 Ford Model TT with Manley Crane- A local Cameron resident restored the 1926 Ford Model TT that was acquired at auction. He added a Manley crane and did a complete restoration bringing this tower back to working condition.
1948 Chevrolet 515 Holmes- a Holmes 515 bed is mounted to the back of a 1948 Chevy Truck and made its way to Chattanooga all the way from Westboro Massachusetts. The truck was completely restored and is the first Holmes 515 in the area.
World’s Fastest Wrecker- This wrecker was featured at the Talladega Speedway until 2005. Eddie Martin could drive this wrecker at speeds topping 109 miles per hour around the 33 degree turns of the track and over 130 miles per hours down the straightaways. The museum was able to purchase the wrecker in 2006 and it remains a visitor favorite.
Holmes w-45 Military Wrecker Diamond-T “Redball Express”- This W-45 Wrecker was built in Chattanooga and was one of only 7238 manufactured between 1941-1949. Used in France as part of the invasion known as the Red Ball Express, the wrecker was part of the US Army until the winter of 1947 when it was given to French arms.
Gift Shop- Hundreds of items relating to the towing and recovery industry are available at the giftshop and shoppable through the online store on the International Towing and Recovery Museum website. Visitors will find apparel, drinkware, souvenirs, models, stuffed animals, toys, games, books, jewelry, and more.
3315 Broad Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37408, Phone: 423-803-4705