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Auto Camps

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Greetings, All,

 

'Auto Camps' as a category proposal has been on my mind for at least a year and I've just now had the time to sit down and gather my thoughts to put together something in writing.

 

For those of you who don't know what auto camps are:

 

Auto camps were a very common sight in the first part of the 20th century in the United States when the automobile allowed families and people to travel farther distances. Auto camps sprung up all over the country (and I would assume parts of the world) to accommodate the weary traveler and were the first true 'motels' (motor hotel) before motels eventually replaced auto camps in the 1940s. Many auto camps were simple tents located on the side of the road (not a permanent structure, so therefore, not what I'm looking for in this potential category). But many were built like mini cottages, some with carports to park a car in and kitchen units. Now, most auto camps are but a memory, with the only evidence of their existence being a photo or an article online or in a book, or perhaps a plaque or historical placard. BUT.. many auto camps still exist in some form and have been converted into other businesses or apartments or preserved as a historical landmark (There is one not far from where I live). My goal is to seek out and capture evidence of an auto camp's existence in communities around the world through historical markers, articles and stories, pictures, and physical evidence. My hope is to create a new category for Auto Camps and to be able to help preserve their rich history.

 

I have already established an Auto Camps group within Waymarking and am in the process of writing up a category description, which I'll post in this forum soon, before sending it to Peer Review. I have already recruited seven members who are very active in the Waymarking community around the world. I am still very interested in recruiting more interested parties. Anyone interested, please join the group at this link: http://www.Waymarking.com/groups/details.aspx?f=1&guid=017147cd-04cb-47af-9b18-218f7c15f30c

 

Before I consider proposing a new category, I ask myself the same questions as those questions that are asked for other category proposals:

 

1) Do auto camps exist around the world? Yes.

 

2) Are there enough former auto camps worldwide to justify a category for them (quantity-wise)? Most likely, Yes.

 

3) Are auto camps an interesting-enough category to make other Waymarkers want to seek them out as waymarks? In a purely historical context as well as for preservation, knowledge and educational value... HECK YES!

 

I hope most of you will agree with me in my assumptions. The only aspect of this potential category that may need some forum discussion would be the acceptance into the category of something 'intangible' as evidence of a former auto camp, i.e., a photo or an article in a newspaper. For instance, in my hometown, the location where an auto camp once stood is now an art museum, with the only trace of its existence being a photo I came across at the local historical society. This photo could obviously be waymarked into the 'Photos Then and Now' category but could they (or should they) be allowed to be submitted into the Auto Camps category? Or should the category require tangible evidence of its existence, such as a structure, plaque or monument?

 

This forum is open for discussion! Any feedback regarding this category proposal will be helpful when I write up the category description.

 

Happy Waymarking!

 

Doug

thebeav69

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Initially when I looked at this I concluded you were talking about people on holidays & staying at these places. I did research with an Australian perspective & basically they didn't exist. Holiday makers in that era towed a caravan or brought their own tent. Some stayed in camping grounds, others in secluded spots by a river or the sea for example.

Then I noted "to accommodate the weary traveller".

So this category is for someone say travelling from Sydney to Bathurst via the Blue Mountains on the then lousy roads & looking for somewhere to stay.

Researched this & couldn't find any mention of auto camps, car camps along this route. Widened my search to no avail. The traveller in those days tended to stay at guest houses or hotels & indeed many of those establishments still exist. Towns such as Katoomba became famous for the accommodation they offered travellers. This is one of the reasons why highways passed through towns & cities.

When looking at new proposals I ask myself - is it global, is there enough of them?

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1) Do auto camps exist around the world? Yes.

 

2) Are there enough former auto camps worldwide to justify a category for them (quantity-wise)? Most likely, Yes.

 

3) Are auto camps an interesting-enough category to make other Waymarkers want to seek them out as waymarks? In a purely historical context as well as for preservation, knowledge and educational value... HECK YES!

I never heard of them or anything similar in Europe, neither did a quick web research yield any results. So I doubt your assumption in the first point.

 

Still, this is not a problem for me. My interpretation of "global" is not "equally spread over all countries of the world", but "not arbitrarily limited to any region of the world" ('Auto Camps in the US' would not qualify). Many great categories are not 'global' in a very narrow sense, but it is part of the excitement to see how different areas and their history can be. It's not Austria's fault that they (probably) had no auto camps, and it's not Canada's fault that they had no ancient Roman temples.

 

I think this idea is interesting enough, although I have little hope to ever come across a potential location for this category. The question is only, are there enough of them in the areas where they existed. I have no idea, so I would like to see some more detailed documentation about it.

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Well, I'm from central Europe and at least in Slovakia and Czech Republic are many "Auto Camps" still in existence. We call them "autokemping" and they are typically roadside places, where you can drive through reception gate, park your car and either

  1. sleep in the car
  2. build your own tent
  3. rent small cottage

 

We spent many vacations this way and can confirm that there are many such camps in Austria and Slovenia too. It is common to drive into the camp and find a place for car and stay.

 

But .. this proposal sounds to me like a subgroup of existing categories - campgrounds or free campsites. Generally, they are all camps and the only difference is the mean of transport how people get there.

 

If talking about historical significance of auto camps - true, there used to be much more in 50's and 60's also in Czechoslovakia, called "motocamps". Now, they either do not exist any longer or are converted to "general" campgrounds or free campsites.

Just for your reference - I collect old books of slovak nature, so can attach a picture of "motocamp" in High Tatras (1960's).

 

e0c00a53-bb34-4a0c-9e01-440e86f407c1.jpg

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All,

 

I'm still very interested in coming up with a writeup to post here in the forum for Auto Camps as a potential category. I still think they have a place in Waymarking, particularly as a purely historical and educational entity. I've been distracted lately with a crazy work schedule, so haven't taken the time necessary to gather my thoughts into writing. I'll see if I can muster something up in the next couple of weeks since the weather in my part of the world is limiting my outdoor adventures.... :(

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Myself, I would vote no. Why? First I see some redundancy with campgrounds category. Second, it seems to be something more or less exclusive of a single country. Third, perhaps even in that single country there aren't so many samples in these days. Sorry, it doesn't pleases me to disapprove one candidate category, quite the opposite.

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May be some redundancy issues, true. Do we know if all of these would be included in the existing Campgrounds category?

 

As for one country -- all I can say is there is something very similar in Korea, and they are called "auto-camps." I'll have to see if I can find a couple of examples.

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There was a reason why I wrote "more or less" in not plainly "of a single country" :-) Korea, as far as I understand, although keeping the core of its millenarian culture, has absorbed plenty of USA influence since the war. Perhaps it's because of that (that you can fin a few "auto camps" there).

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So... What's the general consensus for submitting an Auto Camps category to Peer Review? It seems about 60-70% say 'Yea' to 30% 'Nay'. The more I research this potential category, the more confusing the term 'Auto Camps' seems to invoke, especially to those waymarkers in countries outside the USA.

 

My original plan in proposing an Auto Camps category was to seek out and locate a piece of Americana, i.e., historical remnants of a bygone era in the US. The large majority of Auto Camps that sprung up around the country were more or less tent shelters on the side of the road. But many were permanent fixtures, the pre-Motel structures that exist today.

 

I have to relent that the prominence of finding an Auto Camp anywhere in the country is limited. Add to the fact that Auto Camps seem to embody something totally different in other parts of the world and it looks more and more like I'm fighting an uphill battle to make this a legitimate category for all.

 

If anybody still has passion for this proposed category, I welcome a good writeup in the category's long description and will promote and allow category editing if they want to tackle it.

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I recently watched an old movie classic featuring Clark Gable titled It Happened One Night in 1934 and low and behold, there was a scene shot inside an Auto Camp. I immediately thought of this category idea I proposed awhile back and only wish there were more preserved Auto Camps around the world to make this a viable addition to the Waymarking community. :sad:

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There are several around here, mainly on the road between Cassville and Roaring River State Park. The little cabins, usually formed in a semicircle, are still in use. There's usually a nice sign along the road at about the middle of the semicircle. Can't help but wax nostalgic when going past them. But then it's easy for me to wax nostalgic anyway!

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