“Mindboggling” may be an overused word, but it fits when describing Bill’s Old Bike Barn and Museum in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Dave Hull writes in American Rider, “There’s so much to see at this wonderful 55,000-square-foot facility that it puts your brain into overdrive while you attempt to take everything in and process it.”
Founder Bill Morris created the museum and dedicated it to Americana in all its forms. The former Harley dealer didn’t originally intend to start a museum, but his collection kept growing and now includes more than 200 gorgeous and interesting motorbikes to ogle.
“It came to a point where I had to put a building up to put them in or sell them, and I didn’t want to sell them,” Morris explained to WVIA Public Media Studios. “And that was the beginning of Bill’s Old Bike Barn.”
A unique aspect of BOBB is “Billville,” a replica town named after the museum’s founder. It has its own dentist’s office, barber shop, saloon, restaurant, post office, motorcycle repair shop, gift shop, music shop, cobbler, fire station, and service station.
Other items in Billville include hood ornaments and auto emblems, beer cans and oil cans, license plates and carburetors, key chains and toys – and the list goes on and on.
But the museum’s main attraction is its extensive collection of motorcycles, including many delectable American bikes. Flatheads, Panheads, J models, K models, Knuckleheads, and Sportsters are all accounted for, while Indian is represented by Scouts, Chiefs, and earlier models.
The oldest American bike in the joint is a 1913 belt-drive pedal-start Harley – the only machine that’s kept behind glass. The next oldest is a 1916 Indian single-cylinder, followed by a very cool 1917 Harley with a carbide headlight and a sidecar.
The museum’s oldest bike is French: a 1909 Peugeot V-Twin. Peugeot began its vehicle operations in 1898, and the manufacturer still makes motorized two-wheelers to this day.
The machine that started Bill’s massive collection is a 1962 Moto Guzzi, but it’s not a motorcycle – it’s a three-wheeled, ton-and-a-half dump truck.
The Moto Guzzi section includes a chopper and ton-and-a-half truck that is bound to surprise you when you look through its door.
Bill’s personal favorite is his Army green 1930 Harley-Davidson 74 with a sidecar, a bike he’s owned for nearly as long as the Guzzi motorcycle/truck. He’s logged many miles on it with his dog riding in the sidecar.
In one of the museum’s cases is an interesting scale-model Harley made to commemorate H-D’s 100th anniversary in 2003. It’s a pint-sized replica of the first Harleys made in 1903, but it’s definitely not a toy. It’s made of solid silver and uses cables and a drive chain of real gold, and it’s graced with Cartier diamonds on the pedals. Bill said the item was acquired in 2003 for $4,500. He was recently offered $30,000 for it.
A bike Bill is particularly proud of is his 1940 small-box Servi-Car. The green trike was brought back to pristine condition by his good friend, the late Balter Pisak, a former Harley dealer that Morris bought out in 1970. Bill describes Pisak as his hero, a mentor who taught him about bikes, business, and haggling for the best price.
While the bar in Billville is mostly there for show, the facility is available to host events. Also, keep Bill in mind if you need any old bike parts. He’s not just a biker, builder, mechanic, collector, and museum curator, he’s also a keen parts man and can seemingly pull hard-to-get parts out of thin air.
For the full story (including photos!), head over to American Rider’s website.