Trash and Treasure: America’s Oldest Swap Meets

america's oldest swap meets

Trash and Treasure: America’s Oldest Swap Meets

Swap meets and flea markets are a fascinating part of American history, beginning as early as the late 1800s in their earliest form and around the 1950s in a format closer to the “trash and treasures” tradition that brings people together today. The largest and oldest swap meets offer goods ranging from antiques and clothing to cars and parts. Here is a bit about some of the nation’s oldest cars and parts swap meets and what they have to offer, both to their customers and communities.


Lawrence Swap Meet

The Lawrence Swap Meet of Lawrence, Kansas, is the state’s largest and oldest swap meet, meeting every year in May and offering a wide range of antique cars and parts. The non-profit organization in charge of the state’s oldest swap meet uses the proceeds to benefit a variety of charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, United Way and various auto tech programs.

More information on the Lawrence Swap Meet can be found here

Hershey Swap Meet

The Hershey Swap Meet is not just one of the United States’ oldest swap meets, it’s also one of the largest oldest swap meets in the world. The meet has been an annual event since the 1950s, meeting in October and offering more than 9,000 flea market spaces and in excess of 1,000 vehicles for sale to interested buyers.

More information on the Hershey Swap Meet can be found here

Portland Swap Meet

Portland-SwapMore than 30,000 people have been attending the largest swap meet on the west coast every April for 50 years. The meet focuses on antique cars and parts dating from the beginning of the auto industry through 1980, with 1,500 venders coming together annually to form a community of enthusiasts at the Portland Metropolitan Metro Expo Center.

More information on the Portland Swap Meet can be found here

The oldest swap meets are a great way to come together in a community of like-minded individuals, serving local communities while enjoying and sharing common interests and passions. Look into any similar events that your community has to offer and join in the fun!

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