Nestled on a side road, not far from downtown Hendersonville, North Carolina you will find a quaint little building with an unassuming sign out front and a small parking lot. If you blinked, you would miss it. And if you missed it, you would miss a fantastic piece of happiness history, The Hendersonville Antique Toy Museum.
The place is located at 154 White St, Hendersonville, NC and is open from 1pm to 4pm every Saturday and Sunday. We walked in and we were greeted by one of the most delightful couples that we have encountered, Don and Shirley Roth. They owned and ran the museum. After speaking with them for a few minutes you will instantly realize that they have the heart of a kid when it comes to the toys but the wisdom of age when it comes to their history.
This place is filled with priceless treasures of wonder that date back to the late 1800’s. They had everything from single to multi-room doll houses, some made of cardboard and others made of real wood. The detail and scale was stunning.
We were able to view old figurines like Felix the Cat, Popeye, Little Orphan Annie and more. The collection included mechanical wind up toys for boys and girls. We saw wooden ships that shot marbles from their cannons and Erector sets that dated back to 1910 that used ceramic tiles instead of metal.
They had more model trains than you could count. They even had some that actually ran off of steam. When we finished with the main building, Mr. Roth asked us if we would like to see the train collection in the garage. Being the intrigued explorers that we are, we could not pass on this opportunity.
We entered a climate controlled garage that had a landscape and model trains setup on tables as well as a wide variety of model trains on shelves on the wall that dated back to 1917. There were some transport cars that were especially intriguing to us such as the wine wagon, banana car, Baby Ruth car and the snow plow engine.
We were introduced to a special treat. Mr. Roth told us that one of the running trains was one that he was given as a Christmas present when he was a boy. It costed $5. That was during a time when his father made $25 per week. So, it was quite a gift. This train ran on a track in a city that he made up as a boy. He told us that him and a friend would make up weekly newspapers for their made up cities that their trains went through. What a flashback in time and an amazing story.