The J.A. Cooley Museum is known as San Diego’s Most Unique Collection of Antiques and Automobiles. We’re here to tell you how true this title is!
History of the Museum
Jim Cooley and his wife, Carmen, have been collecting antiques for well over 50 years. They’ve collected with a special eye toward pieces from the late 1800s to early 1900s, and because of this focus, they have one great collection! Cars seem to be a big interest of the Cooley’s–they have over two dozen antique cars in the Museum and all in great condition. Other pieces in their collection include antique toys, phonographs, nickelodeons, trains, cameras, spittoons, clocks, pianos and more. Cooley’s train store, Frank the Trainman, is San Diego’s oldest hobby shop and has been in operation since 1943. Cooley bought it in 1981 from his friend, Frank Cox, and continued on the legacy of the shop. Train enthusiasts will love the Cooley’s. Actually, everyone will love them because they’re the nicest people.
About the Museum
If you love antique stores, you’ll love this place. If you love old cars, you’ll love this place. If you love history and early technology, you’ll love this place. The Museum specializes in pieces from the late 1800s to early 1900s. It has over 20 categories of antiques ranging from model trains to clocks to pianos. There are such things as mechanical music-makers by Thomas Edison, antique toys made of iron, Kodak cameras from the early 1900s and a major collection of trains (Cooley inherited the nickname of ‘Train Man’ after all!). The car collection is San Diego’s Best Collection of One Hundred Year Old Vehicles. There are over two dozen cars, such as the very first (Mercedes) Benz car and the Buick XP 2000! Visitors will even see the vehicle used at the dedication for Interstate 805 (in case you’re wondering, 805 was dedicated in the 70s).
5 Cool Things About the Museum
- You’ll see a 1886 Benz (the first car ever built!).
- You’ll see San Diego’s Best Collection of One Hundred Year Old Vehicles.
- Trains, trains and more trains…including a Harry Potter-themed one in the train store.
- You’ll see the great collection of old Kodak cameras.
- You’ll be inspired to start a collection of your own.
4233 Park Blvd.
San Diego, California 92103
(The Train Man is part of the location and is on the right of the Museum)