Tag Archives: camping

Trail Cookery for Girl Scouts


This little cook booklet dates from 1945, and while it is not an official Girl Scout publication, the company that printed it made it specifically with the Girl Scouts in mind.  Look closely at the pictures to figure out who made the booklet.

Even without the date, I’d have put this in the 1940s due to the cute pleated shorts all the girls are wearing.

One girl just can’t resist those Boy Scouts on the opposite mountain.

The booklet does not actually tell you how to cook an egg with a magnifying glass, unfortunately.

There are even menus included which predominately feature the product of the publisher.  And guesses yet?

Yes, this booklet was developed by the Home Economics Department of the Kellogg Company of Battle Creek, Michigan.

Those baby bears simply cannot resist Rice Krispies!



Filed under Curiosities

Glenn Lowry Mill Campfire Girls, 1920s

I read a notice about a “summer camp fair” where parents can go and talk to representatives from all the area camps.  It seems a bit odd considering that almost all the clientele of these camps are flat-landers.  But anyway it reminded me of some pages from a photo album that I bought several years ago.

The photos were of a group of Camp Fire Girls, and there was also a printed article about their time camping and hiking in Western North Carolina.  Also included was a little song or chant:

I sort of assumed that the name of the camp was Glenn-Lowry, but I’d never heard of a camp by that name in this region, and a search turned up nothing.   In reading the article it mentioned “Whitmire girls” and that is where I got lucky.  As it turns out, these girls were from Whitmire, South Carolina, and they were all associated with the Glenn-Lowry Mill that was located there.

The idea of camping as recreation  in the US arose a generation or so after people who were pioneers and moving into new territory pretty much had to spend their traveling nights camping.  What had once been a hardship was now thought to be a fun way to escape the city and modern life.  In many ways it was a pursuit for the middle class and the wealthy, as the poor factory workers had neither the time nor the money for extended leisure.

But things were different in some mill towns, and it seems that Whitmire was one of the lucky ones.  The wife of the owner, Evelyn Coleman who was from Asheville, worked to develop educational and recreational resources for the workers and their families.  The company ran a YMCA, a bowling alley, and a skating rink.  There were baseball teams and clubs for the kids and for the mothers.  And in the early years, there was a group of Camp Fire Girls.

On this occasion, the girls were camping at Camp Minnehaha, which is located about ten miles southeast of Asheville, near the little town of Batcave.  From there they traveled around the region, taking day hikes to some of the most popular spots – Mount Pisgah, Chimney Rock and Blowing Rock.  It must have been a very big adventure for girls living in a small South Carolina cotton mill town.


Filed under Camping and Hiking

The 1930s Travel Trailer Camping Craze

The 1930s saw the rise of an odd phenomena considering the the world was in the grips of an  economic disaster.  In 1930 Arthur Sherman started manufacturing travel trailers.  You would think that the Great Depression was a poor time to start a business, but Sherman’s Covered Wagon Company was wildly successful.

People had been auto camping for years, and saw it as an economic alternative to traditional travel where there were train fares and hotel bills.   Times might have been tough, but people saw camping as a way to continue travel.  Many travel trailers were homemade, and even a  manufactured one could be bought for as little as $300 (about $4700 today).  Trailers were sold by the thousands.

The press was partially responsible for the trailer boom.  Magazines from Popular Mechanics to Woman’s Home Companion heaped praise upon the benefits of trailer camping.   Bouyed by all the hype, the trailer companies over-produced in 1937, which led to disaster for many of them, including Covered Wagon.   The market was saturated, and the slow economic recovery was halted by a series of strikes in the auto industry.  Many of the companies barely made it to 1942, when the US military began buying travel trailers to use as military housing.

At the same time, many trailer owners were forced to park them for the duration, forming trailer parks that were more like permanent addresses.  And after the war, many young families turned to travel trailers in an effort to find housing.  Trailers were still built as a travel home, but just barely.  This was shown in the  1953  Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez comedy, The Long, Long Trailer.  By the next year companies started making the trailers wider – 10 feet, and it soon became obvious that the trailer industry was diverging.   Travel trailers remained small, but house trailers, or mobile homes grew and grew.

Considering how many of these were made in the 1930s, they are not commonly seen today.  I know where a couple of them are parked, and I’m betting they have been there since the 1940s.   Most of the vintage travel trailers we see today are from the late 1950s and newer.  To learn more about vintage travel trailers, there is a great book, Ready to Roll, by Arrol Geller and Douglas Keister.

Today’s illustrations are from a 1936 Covered Wagon catalog.

Here’s an old post I did with an inside view of a 1940s trailer.

And finally, a not-to-be-missed photo essay from Life magazine.


Filed under Camping and Hiking, Vintage Travel

Prairie Schooner, 1937 Style


In 1937, travel trailers were still a bit of a novelty, the first ones being manufactured in 1930.  People had been auto camping for sometime though, and by the late 1920s, home built trailers were appearing on America’s roads.   In 1929, Arthur Sherman of Detroit had a carpenter build a camping trailer for his family.  It was so popular at the camping spots that Sherman saw the potential in the idea.  He started manufacturing travel trailers as the Covered Wagon Company.  Others followed, with the center of manufacture being Elkhorn, Indiana, which had 34 trailer builders by 1935.  Despite the Depression, the travel trailer business boomed.  It is estimated that in the 1930s there were up to 2000 makers of travel trailers.

I’ve always been a sucker for wardrobe lists, ever since I was eight years old and got the list for summer camp.  So this 1937 ad is one of my favorites.  Here we have Mrs. Robert Fulton, Jr. detailing her packing list as she and the mister head off across the country.  She made sure that it was all washable, or rather “Luxable”, as this is a Lux soap ad.  To better read the ad, click on each photo for an enlargement.

Tomorrow, I’ll write more about the 1930s trailer boom and how WWII changed the trailer industry.  A hint:


Filed under Camping and Hiking, Proper Clothing, Vintage Travel

Auto Camping, 1936


Today, camping usually means setting up a camper or RV in some place surrounded by other campers and RVs.  Oh, I know some people still set up tents, but these days campgrounds have more metal than canvas in them.

That is just an observation, not a criticism.  In fact, I’d love to own a vintage camper, and have been in love with the idea since discovering a great book on the subject, Ready to Roll: A Celebration of the Classic American Travel Trailer by Arrol Geller and Douglas Keister.  It tells the history of auto camping and the rise of the travel trailer camper, and the illustrations are enough to make anyone desperate to find their own little vintage camper.

But before the camper trailer, there was auto camping, with tents that attached to the automobile, and platforms that fit inside the car for sleeping. It was a good idea, one that allowed people to venture far from home in places where there were few over-night accommodations.

This little catalog is from 1936, near the end of the auto tent era, but you can see how this idea worked.   As more and more motels were built and as the travel trailer was developed, there was less need for auto tents, and so they pretty much disappeared.


Posted by Em:

Love the auto lean-to tent. I could use one of those now. I have also fantasized about a camper–especially an Airstream. 

Wednesday, August 4th 2010 @ 5:30 AM

Posted by Lin:

“I’d love to own a vintage camper” you read my mind… 

Wednesday, August 4th 2010 @ 1:40 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

I’m always on the look-out for a 1940s camper, parked behind an old house and all but forgotten. Someday, my camper will come… 

Friday, August 6th 2010 @ 5:04 PM

Posted by KeLLy Ann:

In the early 70s we lived in Vegas for a couple of years. My dad would take the family camping up in Utah and we always pitched a tent. I remember every detail of it. I am now on the look out for a vintage travel trailer for my family. I want one of the smaller ones, 13-15 ft, sleeps 4. Cant’ wait…. 

Wednesday, August 11th 2010 @ 7:17 PM

Posted by billy:

:)I tripped over your little campers page. Very nice. I have a 1947 Spartan Travel Trailer. U can still find the old ones around. a long drive thru the mtns of nc or tenn the back roads less traveled and you’ll find one. i’ve spotted several from 1930s thru 1970s. getting the owners to part with them takes patience. I paid $800. for mine. just needed polishing. Best Regards to all kindred spirits. Billy , Fall Branch, Tenn. 

Tuesday, September 28th 2010 @ 6:04 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

Hi Billy, 

Thanks for the nice words. Yes, I know what you mean…hard to get people to turn loose of their old stuff. $800 sounds like a deal to me! I’ve actually spotted several around here, but none as old as yours.

Wednesday, September 29th 2010 @ 8:04 AM


Filed under Camping and Hiking, Road Trip

Girls’ Night Out.

Unfortunately these are mystery photos, with not a clue as to who or where. Well, there is a clue as to where – they are on a mountain and you can see the valley below.    They are all of a group of girls and young women, and their headgear tells us it was during the 1920s.  Maybe it is a Scout troop or a hiking club.  At any rate, the photos show us what girls were really wearing on rambles through the woods.  Note that at least one girl is wearing a skirt.


Filed under Camping and Hiking, Proper Clothing, Vintage Photographs

Camp Attire, 1910s

I ran across these vintage photos in a stack I bought a while back.  I broke a few rules when I bought them, as I had vowed to buy only those with the place and people identified, and to buy only those of North Carolina localities.  But these were just too good to pass on.

It’s hard to say with any real certainty, but these appear to be from the late 1910s.  The women all have long hair, and those not in bloomers have on long dresses.  I know nothing about cars, but the ones in the background look to be from the teens as well.

What I love about the top photo is the woman in the long bloomers.  The short bloomers that the other two are wearing are really pretty common in the vintage clothing market, but I’ve never seen a pair of the long ones.  I knew they were made, as I’ve seen them in old catalogs.  The next illustration is from a 1919 Butterick sewing pattern catalog.  The outfit was referred to as a “bloomer dress” and could be made either long or short.  Note the broom in her hand.  This was NOT an outfit to be seen in!

This last one does not seen to be the same camping party, but it is still interesting to compare this photo to the postcards in my previous post.  No fancy garden party dresses here!

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Filed under Camping and Hiking, Proper Clothing, Vintage Photographs