Monday, February 27, 2012

Popcorn Wagon Update

Way back in September, 2010 I posted the story of my Grandmother's popcorn wagon in McMinnville, Oregon. You can find it here. When my sister and I were visiting, we'd often spend a few hours with my grandmother (Mom Jenkins) working in the popcorn wagon. Well, a friend recently passed through McMinnville and stopped to take new photos of the historic popcorn wagon:

When Grandma retired, the wagon was restored and purchased by a museum in the capital city of Salem. But they eventually removed it from their collection and it was saved by the McMinnville Fire Department and has been displayed there ever since:

The door was at one end and the popcorn cooker at the other. You can see it at the top of the photo. When the popcorn was done, that overhead "pot" dumped onto the steel tray beneath it. There, butter and salt were added. If I remember correctly, that tray was heated so the popcorn stayed hot until it was scooped up into bags:

This is a new sign, but it's certainly of the original type. The sign I remember said "Mom Jenkins Knows Her Corn:"

Yes, she also sold roasted peanuts. I can't remember if she roasted them right there in the wagon but I think so:

The popcorn wagon is now on permanent display in the McMinnville, Oregon fire station:

My sister and I used to take turns accompanying our grandmother to the popcorn wagon when we were young. There certainly wasn't much room inside, but there was a lot of love, both from Grandma and the customers, so it was a wonderful experience. And that's not to mention all the free popcorn, caramel corn, peanuts and Lifesavers:

Everything inside was shipshape, with a place for everything and everything in its place. Fresh popcorn was popped right there, but popcorn balls and caramel corn were made at home in the evenings:

The sign says "operated" by the McMinnville Volunteer Fire Department. I wonder if popcorn is ever made there anymore:

Our grandmother was a single woman with six children during rough economic times. She was an entrepreneur of the first order with her popcorn wagon and boarding house. She knew not only how to survive but to thrive:


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