In 1994, Scoot and Janet Grice constructed and donated the Grice Clearfield Community Museum at 4th and Pine Streets in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. It’s not exactly what you think of when you hear the word “museum.” When I walked in, my first impression was that this was one humongous man cave! Besides having a collection of over 70 antique and classic cars, adorning the walls and floors and scattered throughout the antique car collection are over 400 trophy game animals and fish.
Scoot’s love of cars and trucks began when his Uncle Tom, who ran a tiny Sinclair gas station in Clearfield, just a block from the site of this museum, took him under his wing after the death of Scoot’s father in 1940. Life was hard for Scoot’s mother, now a widow with four children under seven. Scoot was the oldest, and from age 12 to 16, he worked at the gas station after school and on weekends. In 1949, Uncle Tom gave Scoot his old 1930 Ford Model A Coup.
Scoot went into the service during Korea, and married his sweetheart Janet while on a weekend pass. Returning from Korea in 1955, Scoot took over the gas station when his uncle had a heart attack and retired. Scoot also worked at a brickyard at night and had a side business selling guns. In 1962, he closed the gas station and reopened it as the Grice Gun Shop, now one of the largest gun shops in Pennsylvania, presently run by their son Tom and his wife Brenda.
Upon retirement, Scoot and Janet Grice wanted to create something that others could enjoy. Between them and their son, they had about 25 antique and classic cars, and Clearfield being a hunting community, he knew people liked to see game animals and revel in their past adventures. (Scoot boasts that he once accidentally harvested two deer with one shot with a 54-caliber Flintlock.)
On property donated by Ronald Stratton and the Grice’s, the non-profit Grice Clearfield Community Museum was planned and constructed between 1992 and 1994. The main supporters of the museum, the Grice’s make no money from it, with 100% of the gift shop profits and small visitors’ admission fee rolled back into the museum. Grice has also pledged his remaining retirement monies for upkeep after he and Janet are gone.
Scoot and Janet have been married since 1953, years, have one son and two grandchildren. He learned to fly at age 58. Now age 77, Scoot is proud of his success and still madly in love with his wife. In 2008, he produced a booklet “The Scoot and Janet Grice’s Rags to Riches Story” on their 55th wedding anniversary, from which much of this information was culled.
It costs approximately $50,000 to maintain the museum, and tax-deductible donations are much appreciated. Anyone who wishes to make a loan or display of a car or game mount, can call the museum for details.
My slideshow of the museum can be found here, and for more pictures of the Grice Clearfield Community Museum treasures, visit this site.
Grice Clearfield Community Museum
119 North 4th Street, Clearfield, PA, 16830
Phone: 814-768-7332; 814-765-2601
Sources: Personal Experience; Grice History Page; “The Scoot and Janet Grice’s Rags to Riches Story” Booklet