Friday, February 23, 2024

Reviving History: Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Coronado’s Beloved Model T Laundry Truck – Dec. 9

A couple of Ford Model T’s sit outside of the Laundry Building at the Hotel Del Coronado in 1927. Coronado Historical Association Collection.

In the heart of Coronado’s history lies a gem, a cherished relic with a story that spans decades—the beloved Model T Laundry Truck that lives in the Coronado Historical Association’s museum foyer. This iconic vehicle, built in 1923 by the Ford Motor Company, was originally commissioned as the laundry truck for the illustrious Hotel del Coronado.

The truck, distinguishable by the label #5 prominently displayed on its side, played a crucial role in delivering clean laundry across the island. Tom Wearden, a dedicated Hotel Del employee, drove the truck for seven years until his retirement in 1930 when the hotel generously gifted him the truck.

Children from Tom Wearden’s family pose in front of the truck. Coronado Historical Association Collection.

The truck’s journey took a turn in 1942 when Wearden, following a fender bender, decided to retire the truck due to the increasing traffic. The years passed, and the once vibrant vehicle fell into disrepair until Wearden’s grandson, Captain Herb Underwood, took ownership. In 1978, Underwood meticulously restored the truck, breathing new life into this piece of Coronado’s history.

The truck changed hands and eventually found its way into obscurity until its rediscovery in a Paso Robles barn in 2004. Museum members Bruce and Alana Coons acquired the truck, and in 2007, Richard Kenney purchased it with the sole purpose of contributing to the museum’s educational outreach initiatives.

Since then, Jeff Tyler and other dedicated volunteers, have invested their time and talent into maintaining and restoring the truck, ensuring it remains operational. The Laundry Truck has become a beloved fixture in Coronado’s annual events, participating in the Fourth of July parade, Holiday parade, and Motorcars on Mainstreet since 2007. Its presence even graced the screen in Ken Kramer’s “About San Diego” show on KPBS.

Now in 2023, we are celebrating the 100th birthday of the Laundry Truck. The Coronado Historical Association invites you to be part of this historic celebration with a Block Party on Park Place on December 9 from 4 to 6 pm. Your ticket not only grants you access to a unique event filled with music, entertainment, and community spirit but also contributes to securing the future of this beloved piece of Coronado’s history. Join us in honoring the truck and ensuring that its legacy continues to thrive for generations to come. Tickets are available at and at the Coronado Historical Association. 

Family Ticket ($75.00): An all-inclusive package for families, featuring 2 VIP Adult Tickets with access to the Speakeasy, 2 Child Tickets, and an exclusive Laundry Truck Pin.

Child Ticket ($10.00): Ideal for the younger generation, offering a unique historical experience (must be purchased with an Adult or Family Ticket).

Adult Ticket ($20.00): Perfect for individuals seeking a day filled with historical insights, entertainment, and community spirit.

VIP Adult Ticket ($30.00): Enjoy VIP access, including a Laundry Truck Pin and entry to CHA’s exclusive 1920s Speakeasy, complete with two complimentary drinks. This is ALMOST SOLD OUT! 

Don’t miss the chance to be part of history.

See you at the 100th Birthday Block Party on Park Place on December 9!


Step Back in Time at Coronado Historical Association’s 100th Birthday Block Party!

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