Chattanooga tow truck museum gets big boost from Miller Industries

Employees put massive trucks together in the large…

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Chattanooga tow truck-marker has presented a $30,000 gift to the the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, the Chattanooga-based museum that honors tow trucks, which were invented here.

In September 1995, the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum opened to the public in downtown Chattanooga in its first permanent structure.

Chattanooga was chosen as the museum’s home because it is the birthplace for the U.S. towing industry. In 2003, the museum moved to a larger facility on Broad Street where it is now located.

Miller Industries, which announced that it was adding 150,000 square feet of combined space to its U.S. plants in 2016, is riding a tide of post-recession demand from tow truck owners and operators across the globe.

Miller Industries and the museum have a traditionally close relationship. Miller Industries hosts classes at the museum, the proceeds of which are donated.

And the Chattanooga tow truck museum celebrated the specialized vehicle’s 100th anniversary in September, which was sponsored by Miller Industries.

The 100th birthday celebration coincided with the Tennessee Tow Show at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Ernest Holmes in 1916 built the first tow truck in Chattanooga by attaching a rigging system to a 1913 Cadillac, marking the birth of the towing and recovery industry, according to Miller Industries. Holmes filed for a patent — the first of about a dozen — for his idea in 1917 and subsequently built the Ernest Holmes Co. here to make and market his tow truck.

The Holmes brand lives on as part of Miller Industries’ family of tow truck equipment manufacturers that also includes the brands Century, Chevron, Vulcan, Boniface and Jige.

“Miller Industries’ roots run deep in Chattanooga, and we are honored to share the centennial celebration of our Holmes brand with our friends and neighbors in the local communities,” Miller Industries’ President and Co-CEO Will Miller said in a statement released earlier this year.

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