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July 16, 2010

Trash and Treasure: Unclaimed Baggage Center

By Lacy Morris

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Suitcase(Gary S. Chapman_Photographers Choice_Getty)
(Gary S. Chapman)

After tiresome circling on the baggage claim carousal, a generous waiting period, and what we hope is a decent search for the owner, a good amount of unclaimed baggage ends up in Scottsboro, Alabama. Aside from an old freight depot, a historic flea market, and Payne's Soda Shop, the Unclaimed Baggage Center is the town's biggest draw. Founded in 1970 by a husband and wife team, the store quickly became their main source of income after they set out buying loads of unclaimed baggage and sorting out the trash from the treasure. The store now takes up an entire city block and houses everything from diamonds to socks. Some of the oddest items to come through their doors include a 40.95-carat emerald stone, a live rattlesnake, a guidance system for an F16 fighter jet, Egyptian artifacts found in an old Gucci suitcase, and a Barbie stuffed with $500. Read about more wonderful oddities like the Unclaimed Baggage Center in our Top Ten US Roadside Attractions article.



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I've been to this place. It's definitely worth a stop if you're in this corner of Alabama. It really makes you wonder how all of this stuff stays so lost by the airlines, and so unfound by its owners.

You might also like this piece I wrote after visiting the Unclaimed Baggage Center myself and buying a bunch of stuff:

i like it your work and your interest in permoting these such type of good places

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