Hollow shares one family's
love of Model A Fords
|Visitors to Bo's Hollow can tour the family-owned
attraction in original Model A Fords. One of the first structures
the Borel family built at Bo's Hollow was a reproduction covered
It seems almost impossible
that anyone would just stumble upon Bo’s
Hollow, though Lynne Borel says it happens all the time.
No signs point
the way. A motorist has to miss a bend in the blacktop leading to
Montauk State Park and veer off onto a gravel road to even head in
the right direction. But somehow people do manage to travel more than
a mile down two back roads and ford a low-water crossing to arrive
at a barn with the words “See
Bo’s Hollow” emblazoned on the roof.
Even when visitors
deliberately follow directions posted on the Internet, the sight of
a 1930s-era gas station with Model A cars parked out front is unexpected
and just a little confusing. The historic village seems so lifelike
and out of place on this lonely road that you immediately wonder if
an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
Not to worry, within
moments of your arrival Lynne will be on hand to set you at ease.
meet people at the gate and usually ask them how they found us,” she
says. “We don’t advertise and we quit putting signs up. It’s
just fascinating to hear how people find out about us.”
Borel welcomes visitors to Bo’s Hollow, a historic
village based on the Borel family’s collection of Model A Fords.
Among the tiny buildings on display at the attraction are a 1930's
post office, barber shop and hardware store. The family's smoke house
sells beef jerky and sandwiches.
most people learn about Bo’s Hollow through word of mouth. The
site is so hard to describe, one has to wonder what was said to send
people in search of this most unusual attraction.
consists of a cluster of small buildings, the most prominent one
being the reproduction gas station, complete with artifacts of the
early 1930s, when Model A Ford cars and trucks were commonplace.
sold gas up until last year,” Lynne says. “We got too
busy to pump gas, so we quit.”
recreate the atmosphere of an early 20th-century hardware store, barbershop
and post office. Also on display are a smokehouse, a working windmill,
a small chicken coop, an outhouse (with a surprise occupant), the
entrance to a mineshaft and a Western-era “hoosegow.”
|A collection of antique tire patch kits are among artifacts on
display in a replica 1930s gas station.
placed around the compound are Model A Fords of all kinds. The
vehicles, all drivable and in regular use, include coupes, four-door
sedans, trucks and “doodlebugs” — a home-built
tractor based on a Model A truck chassis.
is like few other roadside attractions. Aside from the fact that
it’s on the side of a road few people ever travel, the
attraction charges no admission (though donations are accepted).
Visitors are invited to wander around the grounds and visit
with Lynne and her two sons. A small gift shop has a few items
for sale, and the smokehouse offers beef jerky and barbecue
beef sandwiches — though at $5 for a sandwich, drink,
chips and cookie, most guests think they’re taking advantage
of Dale Borel, who mans the smokehouse.
probably get a barbecue sandwich like this on the highway and it would
be no big deal, it’s just a barbecue sandwich,” Dale
says, understating the value of his heaping sandwich served
on a homemade bun. “But
when you come out here, it’s a thing of disbelief.
It all just goes together.”
Lynne Borel and her two sons, David and Dale, welcome visitors
to the site from March through October.
To fully appreciate
Hollow, visitors can tour the Borel farm in an original
Model A, sometimes driven by Lynne but usually with her
son David at the wheel.
once we started getting busy, I’d get in the car at 10:15
and I’d get out of the car at 4 o’clock.
It was just one group after the other,” says
David, who maintains the family’s fleet of Model
The $5 Model A tours
take visitors around a large field and alongside a creek where David
points out a beaver lodge and explains the operation of a
hydraulically operated pump the family uses to fill
a small pond.
The sights along
the 15-minute tour aren’t really the point though. The
thrill is simply to ride in the old cars, listen
to the ah-ooga sound of the horn and bounce on the hard seats as
the car rides over rough farm roads.
|The historic village the Borel family created includes a reproduction
gas station, a hardware store, water tower with working wind-powered
pump and several other structures.
only broke down one time, to where we couldn’t make
it back,” David says, explaining that breakdowns
only add to the enjoyment of the ride.
more fun than anything,” he says. “You’ve
got to get out and raise the hood. You’ve
got a carload of people and everybody gets
out to help. Oh, they have a blast.”
the vehicles are the stars of the Bo’s
Hollow show, Lynne says. The historic village
grew out her husband’s love for the
old Fords, which were made from 1928 through
Although his cars
are everywhere at Bo’s Hollow, Bracy Borel is nowhere
to be found. “You won’t see
him. He’s a recluse,” Lynne
says, adding that her husband is in poor
The Borels moved
to Missouri from Texas 23 years ago and own a small grocery
in Raymondville, which is managed by
and Dale’s wives. It
was here that Bracy bought his first
Model A and began a hobby that would
grow to include a part-time restoration
business as well as the Bo’s Hollow
Model A rides at Bo's Hollow take visitors around the Borel's property
near Montauk State Park.
his first Model A and I thought that was fine,” Lynne
says, recounting how her family became
obsessed with old cars. “When
he would see another one for sale he
would buy it. Each time he would say, ‘It
was like money in the bank,’ or ‘We’ll
restore it and sell it.’ So now
we have 20-something and he’s
never sold one.”
his growing Model A collection, Bracy
built a cavernous barn, which serves
as the family’s car restoration
shop. Located on a ridge top high
above Bo’s Hollow, the barn
has a large kitchen and space for
Borel family gatherings.
shop and the ability to feed large
groups were too much to resist
for Lynne’s brother, a member of
a Model A club in Dallas. He organized
a 13-car club caravan to visit
Missouri. A local TV station came out to cover
the gathering of Model A enthusiasts
and Bo’s Hollow, the public
attraction, was born.
|Lynne Borel discusses antique haircutting
supplies with visitors inside the replica barbershop at Bo's Hollow.
A former beautician, Lynne cut's her husband's and sons' hair in
started calling. They said it’s
such a beautiful setting, and
something so different. You should
let people see it,” Lynne
recalls. “We started the
village from that.”
Hollow opened to the public
five years ago. Initially tours included
the restoration shop, though
now that’s reserved for
people with a genuine interest
in Model A’s. Each season,
the family has added a new
attraction, and now a series
of diminutive buildings give
a sense of a 1930s town.
the Borel’s bill their
attraction as a step back
in time, there is really
no pretense that’s
actually happening. The family
does not dress in old-time
costumes and the village
lacks the hillbilly hokum
typical of so many history-themed
destinations. If anything,
a visit to Bo’s
Hollow is less time travel
and more history lesson,
especially for younger visitors.
Borel spends busy summer days driving guests around Bo's Hollow
in one more than 20 Model A automobiles the Borel family owns.
love children and I want
it to be something educational
for them,” Lynne
says. “I try to explain
how times would have been — what
life could have been like — because
children have no idea.”
possible, Lynne guides
visitors through their
first minutes at Bo’s
Hollow. She takes people
into the gas station
and points out significant
like to wring the chamois,” she
From there she leads
groups to an old windmill
and lifts a lever to
operate a pump. Once
water starts pouring
into a bucket, she disconnects
the turbine and has children
draw water by hand. Next,
Lynne takes visitors
to the village’s
tiny hardware store,
which contains a mixture of antique merchandise and modern items for
sale. Plumbing fixtures are especially popular with neighbors who will
stop in at Bo’s
Hollow rather than
drive into Licking
an old-fashioned corn
grinder and feeding
the resulting grist
to resident chickens,
Lynne concludes her
tour and turns visitors
loose to wander on
their own through a
reproduction post office
and barbershop or visit
|Dale Borel prepares beef jerkey for sale at Bo's Hollow.
enthusiasm for the history presented at Bo’s Hollow
is no act. Although
she and her husband live modern lives, they hold onto a few remnants
of a bygone time. Lynne and Bracy make their home in a small cabin
built from logs salvaged from an 1840s dogtrot home. They pump water
with a windmill and Lynne cooks on a wood-fired stove.
appreciation for things past is not lost on the thousands of visitors
who somehow manage to find their way off the beaten path and arrive
the family could
do more to attract
seem to be in
any hurry to
raise their profile.
long as it pays
the light bill
and the upkeep,
good enough for
is what we enjoy.
a get-rich thing.”
Bo’s Hollow is located two miles south of Montauk State Park
on County Road 663 (Ashley Creek Road). The attraction is open Tuesdays
through Saturdays. For more information, call (573) 548-2429 or log onto www.bohollow.com.