International Checker Hall of Fame
The International Checker Hall of Fame, which operated from 1979 to 2007, was founded by Troy Førde and located in a Tudor style mansion in Petal, Mississippi and housed a large collection of checkers memorabilia. The hall of fame, which had been home to a statue of checkers-great Marion Tinsley, a checkers library and museum, as well as the two largest checkerboards and host to a number of checker tournaments, was destroyed by fire on September 29, 2007.
The Hall of Fame opened in May 1979 and was officially dedicated during the checkers world championship during the same year. It provided a tourism boost to the small town of Petal and was considered to be the town's biggest claim to fame during its more than twenty years of operation.
Featuring the world's largest checkerboard, the 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) Tudor-style mansion, known as Chateau Walker is listed in Ripley's Believe it or Not. The mansion is designed with a balcony that overlooked the largest checkerboard, played host to a number of checkers tournaments throughout its existence as well as the World Checker Championship. The museum also featured a bust of Marion Tinsley, considered to be a checkers great, together with a letter from Tinsley renouncing his championship. The hall also features a museum with photos of current and former champions, a teaching facility, as well as the world's second largest checkerboard.
Charles Walker's association with the museum ended in January 2005 when he was charged with money laundering. Although the museum continued to operate on a limited basis for two more years, the museum and its collection was destroyed by fire in September 2007 and there are currently no plans to re-open. The fire destroyed 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) of the museum but there were no injuries.
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