The Appalachian Pinball Museum

By: Dan Gibbs

The Appalachian Pinball Museum at 538 North Main Street in Hendersonville is one of Main Street’s best kept secrets. Tucked away on the far end of the street past the Skyland

Barber Shop and through a set of doors, the Museum is a hands on playland that is full of nostalgia, history, and pop culture. 

The owner/operator of the Appalachian Pinball Museum, Colorado native John French, said in an exclusive interview with Dan Gibbs of that the Appalachian Pinball Museum had been around since about 2017 and he has pinball machines that range in years from 1962 to the more current models, from the rare to the more mass produced. There is a sister museum located in Asheville called the Asheville Pinball Museum.   

John fixes the machines himself and he has been fixing them since he was a teenager in Colorado and began fixing them at his local arcade. Some of the more vintage machines are for display only but there are many older models and many of the current models that you can play. They range from Elton John’s Captain Fantastic, KISS, Cosmic Carnival, and Spirit of 76, to the more modern The Walking Dead and Wrestlemania that is autographed by Hulk Hogan. There were only 400 of the Wrestlemania machines produced. 

The Appalachian Pinball Museum also has a collection of pop culture items that range from a T-Birds jacket from the movie Grease and classic skateboards with Max Headroom on them to a Ghostbusters playset. My favorite memorabilia item had to be the Creature from the Black Lagoon crawling over the movie theater seats with Dorothy and Toto in the seat right beside him.

The Appalachian pinball Museum is temporarily closed right now because of the Governor’s mandate due to COVID-19 but John is hoping for a reopening under Phase III sometime in September. It is $12 to play all day and I doubt there is a better way to spend an afternoon in Hendersonville. 

I actually took a turn on the Wizard of Oz and it has been years since I have played pinball. Needless to say, I will not be entering any competitions anytime soon but it is all about having fun.