Family Camping: York Beach, Maine, 1930s
In the 1930s, as more and more Americans enjoyed paid vacations and access to automobiles, many families purchased or made house trailers. Ads promoted trailer life as a way to strengthen family ties through the pleasures of a vacation on the road. Trailers built in the 1930s were scaled-down versions of a home, with foldout beds, stoves, sinks, and other amenities that let a family travel without having to pay for a hotel or meals. Although taking the housekeeping on the road often meant that women did not have much of a holiday, trailers provided a way for hundreds of thousands of people to take vacations.
Every summer in the late 1930s and 1940s, the Cate family of New Hampshire towed their Trav-L-Coach house trailer to York Beach on the southern coast of Maine. They stayed at one of the thousands of trailer camps that sprang up around the country to accommodate this new form of tourism. There, like other middle-class families, they spent a week in a vacation cottage on wheels.
Many Americans took their vacations on the road and more than 300 small firms made wooden vacation trailers in the 1930s. Autocamping and trailer living helped renew family ties and relieve some of the pressures and distractions of daily life, while it preserved some home comforts. Every summer in the late 1930s and 1940s, the Cate family of Lakeport, New Hampshire towed their Trav-L-Coach house trailer to York Beach, Maine, for a week at Decatur Motor Camp. Keeping house in their vacation cottage on wheels, they relaxed, took walks on the beach, and swam in the Atlantic Ocean. But Mrs. Cate still had to perform most of the house chores that she did at home.
The next stop is in Martinsburg, Indiana, located up the ramp at the orange school bus.