Tragic highlights.

Tragedy in U.S. History Museum Dies

How Do You Spell Tragedy? C-L-O-S-E-D.

Oswald's bedroom furniture.The Tragedy in U.S. History Museum, a thorn in the side of image-conscious St. Augustine, FL, for over 30 years, is no more.

A museum with a theme this twisted could only be the work of a visionary, and it was: L.H. "Buddy" Hough, who got the idea after watching TV news reports of the Kennedy assassination. He opened the museum in 1965 and was immediately thrown in jail for zoning violations. His little house, covered with big signs screaming, " See Jayne Mansfield's death car -- learn the truth!" and, " See human skeletons inside Old Spanish Jail!" didn't fit into St. Augustine's neat tourist package (inc. Oldest Schoolhouse in the US, Fountain of Youth, Spanish Fort).

For the next 20 years Buddy battled the St. Augustine Chamber of Commerce, until the issue was finally resolved in his favor by the Florida Supreme Court. Even then, although Buddy had won the right to keep his museum open, the Chamber of Commerce would insist it was closed whenever we called to check. Buddy, perhaps justifiably leery of the press, wasn't much help, either -- he never answered his phone. We had to travel to the Tragedy in U.S. History Museum repeatedly to make sure that it was still open. It always was, and this claustrophobic nightmare of an attraction was one of our favorites. Where else in America could you eat a picnic lunch next to displays of celebrity death cars and human skeletons?

entry sign. Buddy died in 1996. His widow, Debra, valiantly kept the museum open, but the responsibility of selling tragedy to carefree Florida vacationers proved too much for her. She closed the museum in March and on Saturday, April 4, Buddy's unique collection of tragedabilia went on the auction block.

Some of the items:

Buddy's treasures were expected to sell quickly, according to a family spokesperson. "People like tragedy."

1998 - closed.

Latest from Trunkations, the Blog

    More Blog

    My Sights

    My Sights on Roadside America

    Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips! ...Try My Sights

    Mobile Apps

    Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

    Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

    Sight of the Week

    Sight of the Week

    World's Largest Fire Hydrant, Columbia, South Carolina (Dec 6-12, 2021)

    SotW Archive

    USA and Canada Tips and Stories

    More Sightings Hotel & Motel Finder

    Special rates for hotels.

    Book Now