The Colorful History of RVs and Campers

Image from Smithsonian Magazine
Image from Smithsonian Magazine.
Camping alterations to early driving machines began in 1910 just shortly after the automobile debuted in America. The first official RV was the Touring Landau from Pierce-Arrow. Its back seat folded into a bed, the toilet was a chamber pot and the sink folded down from the chauffer’s seat who communicated with the passengers via telephone!

Auto-Kamp trailers and Los Angeles Trailer Works began manufacturing “auto campers” in 1910. (Today, about 60% of RVs manufactured in the US come from Elkhart, Indiana.)

What really spurred the growth of auto campers was the national parks that began attracting travelers demanding more campsites. It’s been said that in 1922, you could visit a Denver campground with 800 sites, a nine-hole golf course, a hair salon and a movie theater.

Pictured above is an early auto camper, forerunner of the RV.

The Growth in RVs and Campers

Where there are RVers, there are clubs! The Tin Can Tourists (campers who heated tin cans of food on gasoline stoves by the roadside) eventually grew to 150,000 campers by the mid-1930s. What also spurred the growth of auto campers were annual camping trips made by famous moguls of the day including Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and Thomas Edison. Their widely publicized travels drew national attention.

More recently, the CBS correspondent, Charles Kuralt traveled for more than 25 years, beginning in 1967, in motor homes for his “On the Road” series.

River’s End Campground

River’s End Campground caters to today’s RVers by accommodating all RV sizes including motorhomes, travel trailers, 5th wheels or pop-up campers. Water, 30 or 50 amp electrical service, standard cable and sewer come with the sites. Reserve a spot for your RV and enjoy all Tybee Island has to offer this spring at www.riversendcampground.com.