The famous American, Walter P. Chrysler, spent his youth in Ellis, where he learned his trade as a mechanic with the Union Pacific Railroad. Chrysler’s youth began 1878 in Ellis. When he was 17, he was hired as a sweeper and eventually became a machinist’s apprentice. It was during this period of his youth that he forged and tempered steel to make his own tools, that are referred to as the “tools that money couldn’t buy.”
Chrysler said he never forgot Ellis. The training he received in the railroad shops was the basis of the mechanical ability that brought him success. He felt he owed Ellis and its people a great deal for the wonderful youth they had given him. The people of Ellis did not forget him which is evident in the most meaningful memorial of all, the preservation of his boyhood home.
The Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home is furnished with many distinctive items which include an old pump organ and a high backed walnut wooden bed with a matching marble topped dresser. In the kitchen is an iron cook stove and many cooking pots and utnesils used in that era. It was placed on the National Register of Historical Buildings in 1952.
The museum, located behind the home, is filled with many personal items that belonged to Chrysler. The shot gun he used duck hunting, jewelry, books, and photographs are just some of the personal artifacts on display, including the executive desk that Chrysler used in his office suite located in the Chrysler Building in New York City. On exhbit is a 1924 Chrysler previously owned by Walter’s Great-Grandson.
Guides are present to greet visitors and give informative tours through the historic home.