Wednesday, July 31, 2013

'American Pickers’ – Nashville Tennessee

American Pickers is an American reality television series that premiered back on January 18, 2010, on the History channel.  The show is now entering its 5th season with more than 85 episodes to date…

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the TV series, it follows Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz as they travel around the United States, (mostly in the Midwest and South), buying or "picking" antiques and collectibles.  Danielle Colby-Cushman runs the office and home store for ‘Antique Archeology’, Mike’s business based in Le Claire, Iowa.   Frank sells what he acquires through his own website. 


In December 2011, American Pickers revealed that Antique Archaeology had leased space for a second store in a former 1910s car factory in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Marathon Automobile plant is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
It was our last day to explore Nashville’s attractions…and with both Laurie and Dawn being fans of the TV show, Mike’s store was on our list for a visit.

It was Sunday…and despite the store being located in an old auto plant a bit off the beaten track, the store was busy!  Lots of tourists were coming and going, looking and buying…and just plain gawking during our visit. (Laurie and I remember the show when the boys bought the pig’s head…and Frank tried it on!)

Mike and Frank explore people's homes, barns, sheds and outbuildings…anywhere where they’ve stored or hoarded junk, antiques and collectibles. They search the country for potential picking goldmines.  Much of what they buy during these forays into the country side wouldn’t get a second glance from the casual passerby.  Mike has a particular interest in antique motorcycles, air-cooled Volkswagens, old bicycles and penny-farthings.  Frank has a fondness for antique toys, oil cans, and old Hondas.  They’ve purchased old advertisements and commercial signage, film posters, motorcycle parts, bicycles, railroad lanterns, a rare 15-gallon visible gasoline pump, and even some old cars that appear to be total wrecks. 

The shop in Nashville is interesting and definitely eclectic!  We noticed that many of the items aren’t for sale…just part of the décor.  Gloves, t-shirts and souvenirs make up a lot of the business… It was $25.00 for a t-shirt at Antique Archaeology.  We understood that we'd just missed a visit by Mike to his store.

This is one of the treasures on display in the store… It’s one of the most famous characters in the history of American advertising. It was the Fisk Tire Company's sleepy boy.  He shouldered an oversize tire while dangling a lighted candle.  The ad came with the slogan "Time to Re-tire".  We know that this image is pre-1929, because the yawn was turned into a smile in that year and 2-piece pajamas were added in 1930.  In its day, this character was so popular that Norman Rockwell did a series of paintings based on the little boy who was ready for bed, lugging a large Fisk tire on his arm.
The Fisk Tire Company was founded in 1898 by Noyes W. Fisk and his son Harry.  Originally a manufacturer of bicycle tires, the company soon became a major producer of automobile tires.  By 1916, Fisk was producing 5,000 tires per day.  In 1940, Fisk was acquired by U. S. Rubber, which changed its name to Uniroyal in 1967 and then merged with B. F. Goodrich in 1986.  Michelin bought the company in 1990 and Fisk-branded tires are still sold today through the Discount Tire Company’s 850 + stores in 25 states. 

Laurie loves carrousel and hobby horses… Forget the horse!  Just the price of this horse’s Roy Rogers Child Saddle gave me palpations!  However you can pick it up for 'only' $650.00!

I don’t know what this wooden cutout was for…obviously to promote some event many years ago. Maybe a shooting gallery target stand-up?  When  you aim at him & shoot, his eyes light up? One of many guesses...Laurie and I both remember the show when Mike and Frank picked up this item… It is indeed a bit strange, albeit eye-catching. 
There are Facebook and all kinds of Internet connections for Mike, Frank and the Antique Archaeology stores.  For information re: the stores, go to  This particular store is located at 1300 Clinton Street, Suite 130 (Marathon Village), in Nashville Tennessee. 
FYI, Mike and Frank’s able assistant on the show, Danielle Colby Cushman, a former roller derby skater and burlesque show entrepreneur, has her own clothing boutique, ‘4 Miles 2 Memphis’, in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago.  To learn more about this TV Reality Show, you can go to

One more photo inside the Antique Archaeology Store… They have a little stage area set up just to the right of the entrance to the store and there is a bit of live entertainment offered…probably on weekends only…but I don’t know for sure.
In any case, this is “A Man Called Bruce”.  Reflecting the musical heritage of his home in Cleveland Tennessee, A Man Called Bruce’s music is rooted in rock, country, and blues.  Laurie did buy one of his CDs… For more about “A Man Called Bruce”, (I couldn’t find his real or original name anywhere), check him out at or

Marathon Motor Works was an early automobile manufacturer based in Tennessee. It grew out of an earlier company called Southern Engine and Boiler Works founded in 1889, which made industrial engines and boilers in Jackson, Tennessee. As such, the firm had metal-working and power plant experience which could easily be transferred into the then-new and rapidly expanding automobile industry. From 1907 to 1914, the company manufactured the Marathon automobile.  This particular plant was opened in 1910…

This is a very rare Marathon automobile.  I borrowed this photo from Wikipedia… Allegedly, although thousands of Marathon autos were built, only 8 or 9 examples are known to exist today.  At least two of them are can be found in the old Nashville plant facility…the same building that houses Antique Archaeology.  For more information on this site and its comeback as a 'go to location' in Nashville, just go to

This coffee shop is in the old Marathon plant facility just down the way from the Antique Archaeology store.  Appropriately, it’s called the Garage Coffee Company.  We stopped here for a break and a cup of coffee before taking Dawn Marie to the Nashville airport for her flight home.  Check out the Garage Coffee Company at

Well…here’s Dawn Marie raising her coffee cup to our busy, fun and interesting 2-day exploration of the Nashville Tennessee vicinity and some of its many attractions and restaurants.  From here we were all off on our journey’s home.  Laurie and I only had about 2 ½ hours of driving ahead of us…
(Note: There will be one more Nashville related blog published that will complete our tour of the Lane Motor Museum)  
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for joining us on our weekend adventure!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. That's a bunch of stuff - looks a little like my garage.

  2. Love watching American Pickers......they find so much stuff. Nice post about them.

  3. Love the show and wouldove to visit this show place