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A Look Back: The Travels of Edgar Spaulding – Part 4

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By Jolene Hawkins

Looking back, we continue the journal of Edgar Spaulding and his 1926 Motor Camping with his family with the fourth installment of this series.
Moving on in the morning we are in a country that appears more like New England than the south we had seen so far. Cotton mills are everywhere, even the smallest villages having one or two of them. Many large schools buildings are to be seen, quite a few brand new and holding 500 to 600 scholars. They are frequently 2 or 3 miles from any town with a whole fleet of motor buses in the front yard. Community affairs we presumed, but did not ask.
Spent an hour or two at Greenville which seemed to be a very hustling, up-to-date place and like it the best of any city we had yet seen. This might be because the sun shone and it was warm.
Crossing the Savannah River over a toil bridge we came to Hartwell, Georgia. This is a small Village named for Nancy Hart, the Revolutionary Heroine who alone killed two and captured three British soldiers.
The roads which in SC had been gravel with some concrete were now simply dirt and the soil was of a red color, sometimes, very red. There were also some grass in places, whereas in the Carolinas there had been practically none.
Pulled into Athens, Georgia, after traversing a 40-mile detour that had everybody’s temper worn thin, even the cat’s. On top of this our car had a knock that I figured meant at least $20 to take out. After putting up our tent, I tried the motor again and listening, an oldish man came up and said… “what is the matter my friend?” I replied that I did not know but could hear it. “Have you a trouble light?” he asked, I assured him that I had and he said he would come over after supper and we could fix it.
He did indeed return as promised and in less than an hour had the motor running as nice as ever. Upon my asking him for the bill, he replied that I owed him nothing at all. He was glad he could help. Such is the Spirit of Motor Camping
The Camp at Athens is run by Mrs. I.M. Bray and her son. It is a nice, large, clean place with dozens of small cottages about 8-foot-by-10-foot in size scattered about the grounds. You can use your tent or you can have a cottage, the price is the same, 25 cents a night. Crouse was there when we arrived and Neese and Wood came in later. They had lost Jenkins on the road somewhere.
We stayed here for two days, making several trips into the city about a mile from the camp. A likeable place with its large college and county buildings but it seemed rather slow to us when contrasted with other cities that we know. Very cold, but no rain.
Our next stop is in Macon. Roads were reported as being very bad but we did not find them so. Nothing of much interest happened. Gas line plugged up and I picked up a tack in a brand new tire, but this is a mere detail to the tin canner.
The campground at Macon is right in the city being part of the fairgrounds fenced off from the rest and wonders of wonders, the ground was covered in grass. There had been no grass in any campgrounds since leaving Richmond.
The Georgia State Fair being on, the caretaker informs us that our 25 cent camp fee included admission to the fair for the whole party in each outfit. One Ford right near us held Pa and Ma, and 10 children. Admission to the fair being 50 cents per, you can see that they got their money’s worth.
The police department tied a tag to our car reading as follows: “As our guest in Macon, you may park anywhere you wish for as long as you wish (except in front of hydrants and alleys) and the police department will not trouble you.” Taking them up on this, I parked over 3 hours in a 1-hour zone and nothing whatever was said. It seems as if this is Hospitality with capital letters!
We were told by the chamber of commerce that if we would stay in Georgia, we would be given outright 50 acres of good tillable farmland, and the only thing we had to do in order to get the deed was to fence it and build some kind of house on it. A good offer alright, but all the campers were going to Florida to get rich.
Macon is a very modern city of some 65,000 located in the heart of the peach belt. There are 20 million bearing peach trees within 50 miles. Here also is Wesleyan College, the oldest Charted College for women in the world. The streets are wide and well-paved with many beautiful homes and the stores had an up to date appearance that had been lacking through much of the south.  We were asked here many times about the letters on our number plates….
Come back next week for Part 5!
You are always welcome to come to the Lucy Bensley Center located at 23 North Buffalo St. in Springville on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and see what treasures are on our shelves. Call us at 592-0094 or send us an email at lucybensleycenter@gmail.com.

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