Idaho yard was once filled with more than 300 treasures
By Jack Lewis
At the beginning of the 20th century, Mora, Idaho, was a small but vibrant town located on the Oregon Short Line railroad, about 15 miles southwest of Boise. Its high point was 1910, when the handsome brick schoolhouse with its lava rock foundation was built. Yet within a decade, Mora had dwindled to a shell of its former self after the railroad moved its station to Kuna, located seven miles west of Mora. Until 1965, Mora laid dormant when Clarence “Slim” Haken bought what was left of the town, which included the school and remaining 7.75 acres surrounding it. He traded his house in Boise, a boat and a 1940 Cadillac limousine for the entire property.
A lifelong mechanic, Haken repaired, bought and sold vehicles of every description, including school buses, motor homes and tractors. In a 2007 interview with Tim Woodward of the Idaho Statesman, Haken recalled, “Back when I was fixing up cars and selling them, people would take one good one and trade in two or three that wouldn’t run. That’s why I’m in the fix I’m in now. You don’t make a mess like this overnight.” The “mess” he was referring to was the more than 300 vehicles surrounding the schoolhouse.
Haken died in February 2011. The property remained as he left it, except for occasional vandalism, until early 2014 when his daughter sold the property. No one wanted the property with all the vehicles, so in March Musick & Sons Auction of Nampa held a three-day online auction of almost 400 lots. In addition to the vehicles, lots included engines, body panels and trim pieces. Only a few lots were left unsold; these were mainly incomplete trucks, which were then sold for scrap. Most of the vehicles were in No. 5 or 6 condition. Very few ranked higher than that. The auction did not release selling prices.
In the coming years, many of these vehicles will be restored to their original glory. Others will be scavenged for usable parts. Hopefully, some will show up at car shows.
To see what the property looked like before the auction, visit Google Maps and enter “Mora, Idaho.” The schoolhouse has been designated a local historical site and cannot be demolished. It will help serve as a reminder of “Slim” Hagen and his memorable accumulation and his desire to keep a piece of automotive history.