On Sunday, July 24, from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m., the Springfield Museums will present their seventh annual Indian Motocycle Day, the continuation of a long-standing tradition honoring the classic motorcycles that were manufactured in the city from 1901 to 1953. Last year, over 1,000 people attended the event, which featured over 60 classic Springfield-built Indians owned by local collectors.
The Museums re-established the Indian Day tradition in 2010 after a five-year hiatus. From 1970 until 2005, the event was held at the now-closed Indian Motocycle Museum on Hendee Street in Springfield, which was owned by Esta Manthos and her late husband Charlie. In 2007, Mrs. Manthos donated their extensive collection of Indian Motocycles, artifacts and memorabilia to the Springfield Museums, where it is now on view in the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History.
This year’s Indian Day will pay tribute to Augusta and Adeline Van Buren in honor of the 100th anniversary of their historic cross-country ride. In 1916, the sisters became the first women to cross the continental United States, each on her own Indian Powerplus motorcycle built in Springfield, Massachusetts. Along their eventful 60-day, 5,500-mile journey from Brooklyn to San Francisco, they became the first women to reach the 14,115 foot summit of Pike’s Peak. The two were inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame in 2002 as well as the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame in 2003. Springfield Museums is also celebrating the centennial of this groundbreaking event in their exhibit Crossing the Country to Cross Barriers: The Van Buren Sisters Ride into History, which will feature photographs, news articles and rare memorabilia detailing the sister’s courageous trip.
In addition to the motorcycles on display, there will be a variety of vendors, food and beverages, music provided by local radio station Rock 102 and a local DJ, and the awarding of trophies for the best Indians in a variety of categories. Commemorative t-shirts will be available for purchase. Anyone bringing a pre-1953 Indian will receive a free admission pass plus a commemorative Indian Day button. Exhibitors, and especially vendors, are encouraged to pre-register by calling 413-263-6800, ext. 304.
Admission to the event is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-17, and includes access to the Wood Museum of Springfield History and the Indian Motocycle Collection. The event is free for members or with paid museum admission.
For information, call 413-263-6800, ext. 304, or visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.