Cars and Confederate Flags - A Visit to Cooter's Dukes of Hazzard Museum in Luray Virginia

Dear Henry,

Do you remember the old T.V. show from the late 70s / early 80s called Dukes of Hazzard?  

It was about the two brothers, Bo and Luke Duke, on probation for moonshine running. The show always featured at least one (usually more) car chase between the Duke brothers and their 1969 Dodge Charger, adorned with a Confederate flag named the General Lee and relatively incompetent Hazzard county sheriff, Roscoe P. Coltrane, led by the corrupt county commissioner Boss Hogg, played by the actor and Korean War veteran, Sorrell Booke, (read his Everyday Patriot biography here). The television show was based on the movie The Moonrunners. 

While the show was incredibly popular and was the second most watched on American Television for a while, behind Dallas, it didn't age well. The show was about illegal alcohol distribution and contained a lot of Confederate imagery, and that culture doesn't quite have the same charm as it did nearly 50 years ago. However, I daresay, the show's take on corrupt politicians is still reasonably timely.

Anyway, Fish and I saw the museum and realized we just had to check this out.  

The museum is the brainchild of actor Ben Jones, who played Cooter Davenport, the mechanic and friend of the Dukes. 

Ben Jones's history with the show predates the actual television show itself. He played a role in the film Moon Runners and transitioned easily into the Dukes of Hazzard series, which ran from 1979 to 1985. After the show ended, Ben Jones ran for and won one of Georgia's seats in the House of Representatives. When he left Congress in 1994, he briefly returned to acting and had roles in Primary Colors, Meet Joe Black, and Secret. In 1999, Ben Jones retired from acting, moved to Virginia outside Shenandoah National Park, and opened the museum.

It was quite the trip down memory lane, and we had a lot of fun checking out the old props and Duke's of Hazzard memorabilia. There is even an on-site studio where you can record yourself singing the Dukes of Hazzard theme song. Neither Fish nor I can sing, so we passed on that part of the tour.

Ben Jones has a "garage band" and comes to sing at the museum every Saturday. The museum also hosts other local bands and festivals. Unfortunately, we went on a Wednesday and missed the music.

There is a pretty cool little gift shop where you can pick up Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia, including lunchboxes and Christmas ornaments, and a little barbeque place for food.  

It was a fun little trip through television nostalgia and best of all, the museum is free.

Check out the video tour here:

xoxo a.d. elliott 


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

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