West Columbia collection is man's attempt to preserve city history

West Columbia collection is man's attempt to preserve city history

WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's more than an auto repair shop. Some call it a museum. And it might be the only place to see the history of the City of West Columbia.

And now a longtime business owner has a plan for it all.

In the heart of West Columbia sits a auto shop owned by Bill Mooneyhan.

"I have a tough time throwing things in the trash," he said. "My daughter said 'this can't be your museum, this is an auto shop.' I said, 'well it's my auto shop, it's going to be a museum and an auto shop.'"

But some people come for more than auto repairs.

"Right in front of the old Cafe Strudel, that used to be the old city hall."

They come to look at Mooneyhan's collection.

"Coca-cola, Gulf and, of course, West Columbia, that's my big one," he said.

But it's not just any stuff.

"The city didn't have a lot of information on the city because of the fire in the 40's," he said.

It might be the only thing keeping the history of West Columbia alive.

"I am sort of known as the historian in West Columbia. The chamber and city come to get information from me because if I don't have it, I can get it and usually I have it."

But soon Mooneyhan's collection might have another home. He's hoping to transform the old Brookland City Hall on Center street into a museum

"I'm not giving up. I have a lot more people that are willing to donate more stuff that would be physical stuff," he said.

For now his collection will stay inside of his shop on 12th Street as he continues to grow it.

The West Columbia City Council has heard his idea but a decision has not been made yet.

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