A pennyless hobo that road the rails during the great depression, and through his own great efforts became a business tycoon and railroad owner... one of the last private railroads.
After riding the rails and sheepherding from a covered wagon in Montana from age 13 to 19, Mr. Holm became a scrap-metal salvage business with 10 cents, at age 19, and have made a success out of things people throw away, started his own railline and this musuem to showcase the equipment he salvaged, was a City Council member and owner of the House of Poverty Museum, which showcased many antiques and his collection of train cars.
Mr. Holm was one of the few remaining registered owners of a private rail line. His collection included a presidential dining car used by President Wilson and later President Truman, the last steam engine operated in Alaska he'd acquired the locomotive and later the Alaska Railroad asked unsuccessfully to purchase it back, and several cabooses. The collection includes an ex-US Army Class S-160 Consolidation steam locomotive, a former Great Northern caboose, former Spokane, Portland & Seattle private observation car, an 0-4-0 steam locomotive, and various track machines, railroad-themed amusement rides, as well as a wide variety of railroad collectibles ranging from old books to tool collections.
According to "Once a Hobo .. The Autobiography of Monte Holm," published in 1999, he bought the cars to fulfill a promise he made one day to own a railroad after he was kicked off trains during the Great Depression while traveling across the country between jobs as a sheepherder in Montana. started a scrap metal salvage business and started his own railline and this musuem to showcase the equipment he salvaged.
There is a book about his life which is reviewed in the most wonderful ways, "Once a Hobo, the Autobiography of Monte Holm"
Port of Moses Lake Commissioner Larry Peterson said he enjoyed stopping in and visiting Holm. He recalled that Holm had wanted to drive his locomotive out to the airport and back during a celebration. The predominant railroad at the time was Milwaukee Railroad, and when Holm got ahold of them, the railroad told him no.
“Monte was great friends with Joshua Green, president of Peoples Bank, who was a major stockholder in the railroad,” Peterson recalled. “Monte called his friend Joshua Green and before long, had a call back from the railroad that it would be OK to do that.”
He passed away in May 2006
the museum days and hours of operation:
Monday thru Saturday 10am to 5pm
Moses Lake, WA United States
To a Pacific Northwest magazine writer in 2000 he showed his antique cars, steamship whistles and fire engines in his museum.
"Then we boarded Holm's train. Up front was the locomotive, the last steam engine to run on the Alaska railroad. At the rear was a caboose Holm had built because the train seemed lonely without one. In between was a 1915 presidential car that Burlington Northern used for dignitaries, including Presidents Truman and Wilson on their whistle-stop campaigns. The presidential car had sterling lamps, a stainless-steel galley, servants quarters with an ironing board, even a polished mahogany banquet table with a filigree coffee pot suspended in its own silver cradle. This train outclassed even today's top-of-the-line RVs.
July 17, 2001, Moses Lake, Washington, Moses Lake Iron and Metal Co.
The last steam locomotive to run on the Alaska Railroad was 2-8-0 #557. This took place on September 5, 1960 and it was a passenger run from Anchorage to the State Fair at Palmer, in the Matanuska Valley, and return. Old #557 was then sold for scrap and left Alaska June 14, 1965 aboard the Trainship ALASKA, bound for Everett, Washington. Our family unit traveled to Moses Lake, Washington to visit #557's current resting place. It is owned by Monte Holm who owns Moses Lake Iron and Metal. Monte was extremely friendly and had his assistant take us through his museum called, "The House of Poverty". Inside the museum we found an extraordinary collection of antiques which included old cars, Jesse James' mother's sewing machine and a rifle that came over on the Mayflower. Stepping outside, we came across #557 where we spent some time photographing it and checking out its controls
The story of Monte Holm is a long and interesting onehe went from being a self-described hobo waiting in bread lines and riding rail cars during the Great Depression, to the owner of a railroad and a scrap metal tycoon who handed out Werthers Original candies to everyone he met. Eventually, he opened the House of Poverty Museum to showcase antiques and other curiosities that he had come across in his lifetime. In 1979, Monte Holm took the Collectors Edition name on his 1979 Lincoln Mark V seriously, buying the car, taking it home, and parking it in his museum for more than two decades.
http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2465738520098197393Yafgap for a photo of his steam locomotive