The Elkhart RV Museum/Hall Of Fame, has a great history of recreation we can all relate to. With the automobile in their lives, people wanted to wander farther afield. Early efforts were just modified cars. This old Tin Lizzie had a unique telescoping design, a bureau pulled out on one side….
A “kitchen” on the other side, and you still had to find somewhere to sleep, maybe a tent, or under the vehicle if the weather was nice. But most early models were simply shelters in which to sleep and store your food stuffs.
Many of those early recreational vehicles were custom built affairs like the Tennessee Traveler above.
It was built like a house, with the wood stove, heavy plank floors and walls. It featured a built in ice chest, but check out the drivers seat.
This originally had a bench seat with no back. Imagine what a comfortable ride that must have been? The owners installed the above seats during a remodel.
Here was another drivers seat, resembling a club chair. It came as a $35.00 accessory. Entrepreneurs saw a need and the first professionally manufactured units started as basic shelters for a trip, then more elaborate shelters with heat, cooking, and light. Then water and refrigeration was added. Then, toilets and showers until today, we have all the comforts of home in miniature.
One old time unit had a built-into-the-ceiling propane “lantern” that resembled a light fixture.
And, of course, all the comforts of home with radio, curtains, a fly swatter and a fan. Another had windows that rolled up and down like car windows.
Another interesting unit was built to fit into a standard garage.
Of course, you couldn’t stand up in it.
This little trailer put the cooking outside and the sleeping and storage inside. This is a sleek metal type of “teardrop” one of the most popular camping trailers ever made. I owned a tear drop for many years and wish I had never sold it. These little trailers were economical and fit the average family’s pocket book, plus you could haul them with a smaller, less powerful car.
This unit was a touring car not a true RV. Mae West didn’t sleep in it. She was induced to come to the Hollywood studios by being driven back and forth from her home to the set with it. Probably the only unit known to have a back porch where she would sit outside and take fresh air while being driven to the set.
When we stepped out of the Hall, we saw this unique two story custom RV with a truck cab sitting in the parking lot.
After leaving the hall, we had dinner at the Liberty Cafe in Fort Wayne with friends Pat and Richard Whitfield. For more photos, click the link below: