Sunday, May 21, 2006

TAS: Cheap thrills with Subway

January 27, 1993

Do you remember when I told you about the indoor windsurfing I saw on M-TV last quarter? Well, I thought I had seen it all on Saturday when Georgia Southern played UTC. I actually saw sandwiches flying through the air.

Maybe you saw the placards advertising the game while you walked around the campus last week. It said things like TV, FRISBEES, and FLYING SUBS! (Anything to get the students to a game, right?)

Well, the first two I could understand. However, the last one really stumped me. I just was not sure how an airborne naval vessel would fit into the scheme of a basketball game. (On a side note, one might question how flying pigs fit into the scheme of a Pink Floyd concert, but a careful listen to the music will clear up that problem.)

Basketball is not a rock concert--even if the two are sometimes held in the same arena. A basketball game follows certain rules that everyone must follow. Because these rules are widely known, it gives everyone watching or participating a confident feeling that they can be fairly sure of what will occur.

So, you can see my problem can't you? Nowhere in my vast mental catalog of basketball lore could I find anything that gave me a clue as to what a submarine might be expected to do at a basketball game. I arrived rather breathless with anticipation.

Yet when I found my seat and prepared to enlighten my mind with a profoundly new experience. I was instead brought down in despair. There were no aerial U-boats, only sandwiches.

Yes, I had been suckered. It was only a promotional campaign sponsored by our local, neighborhood Subway sandwich shop. Whenever a GSU player hit a three-point shot, the cheerleaders flung Subway sandwiches into the crowd.

I witnessed a similar event last year at a GSU basketball game, but instead of sandwiches, the cheerleaders threw t-shirts. I must admit that flying sandwiches are more fun to watch and better for the digestive system as well.

Early in the game the Eagles were shooting and making three-pointers frequently. It almost distracted me from the game as I watched dour or five sandwiches wing their way through the air. (Unfortunately, the sandwiches were wrapped tightly, there were no flying vegetables.)

Yet, as the game wore on, the three-pointers stopped coming. The sandwiches simply sat earthbound on the sidelines. I must assume they were kept in ice awaiting their chance for flight. Hanner was a bit hot on Saturday and I for one would not want to come across a sub sandwich in which the mayonnaise had gone south.

The game was already lost but a few lucky individuals got a free meal.



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Sunday, May 14, 2006

TSNS: Abstract

The history of the automobile is a vital part of the history of the twentieth century United States. The automobile began to significantly reshape America following the second World War. The construction of the enormous National Interstate and Defense Highway System assured the dominance of personally-owned automobiles as the mode of transportation in the United States. Improved highways made far-flung suburban communities possible and the 41,000 miles of Interstate highway traversing our nation and entering the metropolitan areas assured crowded city streets and time-consuming traffic jams.

What, however, has the Interstate system done to the rural areas of our nation? This examination of Statesboro, Georgia gives some insight. The invasion of Interstate 95 down the eastern coastal area of Georgia radically altered the existing traffic and tourism patterns that had slowly developed since the 1920s and rose to its highest levels in the 1950s and 1960s.

Statesboro--as its police shoulder badges attested--was known as the "Tourist City" and relied upon Northeasterners visiting Florida for a significant portion of its yearly income. The main travel artery that carried this traffic before the Interstate system was U.S. Highway 301, which ran through the heart of downtown Statesboro. The Interstate system could have a profound effect upon rural communities, depending upon where the highway was routed. In Statesboro's case, Interstate 95 was constructed fifty miles away, effectively cutting the community off from the traffic that would use the newer road. The loss of tourist traffic, due to I-95's construction was an additional hardship upon Statesboro.

Statesboro's tourism memory and the reaction to the Interstate are the heart of this work, as well as a look at where Statesboro is today and efforts to revitalize some tourist traffic on the old regional highway. Along the way, the changing world of highway travel will also be examined, paying special attention to the "homogenization" of the roadside experience, from chain restaurants, to impersonal motels, to the death of small towns.



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TSNS--CHAPTER ONE: A History of Travel Days Gone By

In February 1957, the new editor of the Bulloch Times mused about the effects of the Interstate highway-building program. He asserted this undertaking would "change the face of the United States . . . and effect virtually every city, village and countryside. . . . How great the changes will be in our economic and social experiences through this gigantic program is something to be appraised in the years to come." [1] Answering his question, within a local context, is the aim of this work.

Arguably, the automobile has shaped the twentieth-century United States more profoundly than any other major technological innovation to date. It opened up new avenues of growth and leisure to a nation long centered around a localized, rural existence. It spurred the growth of road improvements, road system expansion, and road innovation across the country, affecting every town along the way. The automobile, along with improved roads, gave once relatively isolated farm families access to the growing cities, opening new vistas of entertainment, education, and consumerism. While generating many innovations, the automobile set in motion forces that brought many changes to America.

It is this aspect of change that I would like to examine in more detail. As increased motorization swept the country, the nation's road system faced major problems of repair and development. The United States made great strides throughout the first half of the twentieth century to provide a system of roads that suited the transportation needs of a modernizing nation. Interstate highways, sanctioned by the 1956 Federal Highway Act, marked the peak of road systematization for the American motorist, and caused greater changes upon the American culture than any other transportation infrastructure. In examining some aspects of these changes, the questions this thesis wishes to answer are: How did the changing face of the American roadway, and shifting traffic patterns on highways, affect community life along the roads? More specifically, what happened to the Statesboro community along state Highway 301 in eastern Georgia? How did Statesboro benefit from the traffic along this road and what happened as traffic moved elsewhere?

Several studies consider the impact of the automobile and the creation of the Interstate highway system upon particular regions. James Flink's The Car Culture examined the ideals that developed around the car and the men that dominated auto manufacturing. His 1975 book was a starting point for many automobile scholars that followed. Warren J. Belasco described the tourist habits of motoring Americans and the various styles of tourist accommodations following the growth of car ownership in the 1920s in Americans on the Road (1979). The psychological culture of the automobile as symbol and its resultant effects on United States society has also been examined by Flink and by Christopher Finch. Finch's Highways to Heaven (1992) described not only the early days of automobile invention in the United States and Europe but also devoted space to the effects of Interstate highway development--especially in Los Angeles (the archetype for the mobilized metropolis), and the tremendously creative yet shortsighted days of Detroit dominance in the 1950s. Where the Road and the Sky Collide, by K.T. Berger (1993), demonstrated the automobile's influence upon the design of cities as well as the fact that the automobile has become an indispensable part of everyday life while exerting increasing economic pressure upon the American family. Further, Belasco and John Jakle examined the use of the automobile as a tourist vehicle. Jakle's work, The Tourist (1985), has special resonance in this study for its emphasis on the American roadside's loss of uniqueness. He highlights the "homogenization" of the travel experience, which he cleverly termed "placelessness," a concept familiar to anyone who has recently taken a trip on Interstate highways. Any Interstate off-ramp around the country offers the same assortment of fast-food restaurants, gasoline stations, lodging, and retail outlets. Regional distinctions have been supplanted by the pervasive power of corporate chains.

All of these works have relevance within the context of my own area of study—Statesboro, Georgia. While most highway impact studies have sought to put the movement within a national context, this work strives to place a human, local face upon the wider national movement—without sacrificing a wider scope when appropriate. In this way, it is hoped, a more immediate understanding of the great forces unleashed by the automobile can be understood.

Once the automobile came within the price range of the average American family in the 1920s, it began to reshape the cultural landscape. In 1920, for the first time, the Census found that most American lived in urban rather than rural areas. The rising automobile mobility (or automobility) of the United States and the obvious enthusiasm that Americans demonstrated for auto travel, created new leisure and economic activities that depended upon the increased travel range that automobiles provided. For example, mass consumerism and mass production—offshoots of growing big business trends, and continuing industrialization—fueled the creation of large department stores located in urban areas. These stores, in turn, received valuable patronage from citizens in the outlying rural regions who traveled to the urban shopping areas in their “Tin Lizzies” along newly improved roads. Conversely, city dwellers now used their automobiles to escape urban, industrial sprawl, to the “unspoiled” countryside as well as to more exotic points of the American continent, traveling with more freedom of choice than rigorous train schedules provided.

Many townsfolk in the United States wished to have improved highways built through their communities. They saw it as an opportunity to draw individuals from the surrounding vicinity towards them, increasing local economy and allowing for greater accessibility. Norman Moline demonstrated this phenomenon by examining the opining of Illinois Route 2 (later U.S. 51) in 1925. The citizens of Oregon, Illinois greeted this north-south route with more enthusiasm than another route that ran east to west from Chicago because the latter road paralleled the railroad lines and the former route made two previously inaccessible towns more convenient. [2] However, some reacted negatively to the changing travel habits of townspeople as the greater mobility of the 1920s set in The local county newspaper lamented that once, “[h]ome filled a bigger place in the minds of the people of those days. People remained in their homes more, used them more freely for recreation.” Remaining at home was not due to some local ideology, the article continued, “but because there was less going on elsewhere.” [3] The automobile created the opportunity to search for activities outside of the home’s sphere.

In the South, similar changes were taking place. As the demand for automobiles increased, hard top roads were needed in place of the existing miles of poorly conditioned dirt roadways. The Good Roads movement arose in the South to direct this infrastructure creation. However, the movement split between two camps, one hoping to use new roads to link the South with the nation as a whole and the other hoping to solidify what remained of traditional southern rural life by adapting it to the highway. Historian Howard Preston’s 1991 study Dirt Roads to Dixie, examined the particular problems that the automobile caused in the southern region and some of the individuals who helped shape change. For instance, businessman John Asa Rountree was one of the first individuals to take advantage of the previously unexploited business venture of automobile tourism in the South. Rountree shaped the Good Roads movement from a project dedicated to lifting the South “out of the mud” of its extremely primitive road system to a commercial venture that benefited businessmen and developers. [4] Rountree and others like him advertised the unspoiled beauty of Florida as a way to lure adventuresome, travel-hungry Northeasterners southward along the improving highways.

In time, certain roads became major tourist routes through the South. U.S. Highway 301, the focus of this study, was “the major north-south highways serving the eastern United States from Maine to Florida.” It stretched a total of 1,107 miles along the eastern coast, connecting Tampa, Florida with New England (see Figure 1 and Figure 2). [5] Today Highway 301 runs in relative isolation all along its path northward until it reaches Santee, South Carolina where it first intersects with Interstate 95. Through the Carolinas the old highway engages in a dance of weaving and joining with the Interstate until it deviates from I-95 in Richmond, Virginia. It then heads in a more easterly direction into Maryland, while the Interstate strikes more directly north. In Maryland, U.S. 301 strikes out through Annapolis and across the Chesapeake Bay, entering Delaware near Middletown and merging with U.S. 40 at Glasgow, heading into Wilmington, where U.S. 301 ends. In the upper east coast beyond Wilmington, the former traffic artery succumbed to the directness and speed of Interstate travel—much as the famed Route 66 did in the Southwest [6]—being completely replaced by I-95.

Statesboro citizens historically benefited from the streams of tourists flowing down Highway 301 into their town. Such tourism generated many business opportunities—both legal and illegal. Tom Poppell, Darien, Georgia’s long-time sheriff, used the tourist trade to solidify his power in McIntosh County by looking the other way when locals set up clip joints and other road-side stands designed to fleece an unwary Northerner looking to experience some “wholesome” southern culture. [7] Along the Georgia 301 corridor, south of Bulloch County, the community of Ludowici (pronounced like Lew-dough-wissy) gained a notorious reputation of catching travelers in sudden speed traps. But many legitimate (if tacky) roadside stands existed as well, along with local restaurants and fruit stands (sometimes offering the bottom of the harvest barrel.) [8]

Tourists came south looking for adventure, bringing their money with them. In the early decades of tourist travel, most automobiles camped out in tents pitched nightly. Over time, these activities were viewed with mistrust and the main body of middle-class tourists began spending the night in supervised campgrounds rather than along the roadside. By the 1950s tourists stayed in motels that sprang up alongside the improved highways of the nation. [9] In such ways the commercialization of the American highway increased, bringing significant changes to American roadside culture.

Before corporate franchising changed roadside businesses in the late 1950s, local businesses benefited from the inflow of travelers and auto tourists, providing gasoline and service stations, as well as restaurants and lodging. These businesses were based within the towns and hlped stimulate the local economy. For instance, a local Statesboro restaurant, “Mrs. Bryant’s Kitchen,” received many years of valuable patronage from East Coast tourists. Opened in 1950, Mrs. Bryant’s Kitchen was ready for business just as Highway 301 became the major route through Georgia for the Washington D.C.-to-Florida tourist traffic (see Figure 3 and Figure 4). According to Lavinia Strickland, daughter of Mrs. Bryant, “[it] got so busy that they opened the second diner—what we termed the ‘second dining room.’ And within another year they opened the ‘party room’ or the ‘banquet room.’ . . .” [10]

Certainly, the local Statesboro residents helped keep “Mrs. Bryant’s” open, but much of its success can be tied to the favorable position that Statesboro held geographically with the highway running through town. Mrs. Strickland remembers those early days of tourist business well. “Statesboro was the second night’s stop on this main traffic route,” she said. “It’s hard for you kids to remember now, you are so used to the Interstates going anywhere you wanted to go. But at that time you would plan, if you were going to leave Washington [D.C.] and you were going to Florida, you would stop the first night somewhere in South Carolina.” [11] “Statesboro was in the . . . logical place for the second night’s stop. Some would stop in Sylvania, some would stop in Claxton, but the majority of the tourists, it seemed, would stop in Statesboro.” [12] Strickland strongly felt that Statesboro benefited and grew economically from this steady flow of travelers. “Why even in the fifties, Statesboro was considered as having more restaurants per capita of people than any other town on the eastern seaboard.” The presence of a four-year college helped Statesboro compete with surrounding locales, but tourism made a significant mark on the development of this community. [13] “[O]f course, with the college build-up it just kept us on growing,” Mrs. Strickland realized. “Because of the fact that it was such a logical place to stay, [Statesboro] became a very big tourist town.” [14]

Tourist travel grew and changed from the earliest days of the 1920s to the halcyon days of Mrs. Bryant’s Kitchen. As automobiles became more reliable and sturdier, and as road surfaces steadily improved, vacation trips of longer duration and to more distant destinations became more common. This vividly contrasts with the early decades of automobile touring, often called “auto-camping” because of the large amounts of equipment that travelers carried and the decidedly rustic accommodations they necessarily utilized. Auto campers traveled the nation’s roads nar the turn of the twentieth century in their rough-and-tumble, no frills Model T’s—loaded down with repair equipment and camping gear, ready for any emergency. When the day was waning, travelers found a suitable resting place, pulled over and set up camp. Food was cooked over an open fire while a tent was attached to the side of the car, creating a make-shift lean-to for the night. These early tourists did not have a specific destination as such. They simply reveled in the experience of traveling the American roadways in complete freedom—a kind of motorized vagabonding. [15] Even thirty years later an auto traveler might take great cares to prepare his vehicle the day before a trip began: “. . . all good tourists have their vehicles properly checked to reduce to a minimum the possibilities of mechanical mishaps, we had our car checked—brakes, steering gear, tires, battery inspected and tested. . . . Then to the service station for gas, oil, windshield cleaning, water, and a road map.” [16] Even in the 1950s, auto travel was planned more seriously than it is today.

By no small coincidence, within a couple of decades of Frederick Jackson Turner positing his “Frontier thesis” concerning the nature of the distinctive American character, auto-camping became a popular way for middle- and upper-class Americans to return to the frontier roots of their ancestors. With, however, the closing of the frontier in 1890 and Turner’s first advance of this thesis in 1893, some worried that Americans might soften due to lack of struggle. [17] While the automobile could not toughen Americans as pioneering might have done, the mobility it provided excited travelers. Embracing the freedom of auto-travel—hitting the open road—was a liberating experience for a modernizing America. [18] Men, and increasingly numbers of women as well, saw the automobile as a sort of mechanical savior: “The auto has restored the romance of travel,” wrote Edith Warton in 1908. “Freeing us from all the compulsions and contacts of the railway, the bondage to fixed hours and the beaten track . . . [the auto] has given us back the wonder, the adventure, and the novelty which enlivened the way of our posting grandparents.” [19]

The automobile also provided a chance to experience the country, giving families the opportunity to experience the landscape rather than only read about these places. Frederick Van de Water felt this heady rush of optimism as he recalled his family’s trip to San Francisco in the 1920s: “America no longer [was] an abstract noun, or a familiar map of patchwork, or a flag, or a great domed building in Washington. It is something clearer. . . . It is the road we traveled.” [20] Similarly, the frequent perils of the roadside presented more opportunities for Americans to meet under their new-found love of automobiles. As one participant put it in Scribner’s Magazine in 1913: “One traveler helped a fellow motorist solve an engine problem. Soon a group assembled. . . . One was a doctor from Kalamazoo. One was a young man from Boston, ‘who, until he took to motoring, never dreamed of speaking to anyone not properly presented!’" [21] The car brought about changes in social life.

Auto-campers embraced the hardships of nature in the years before World War I, but in the post-war period, as the composition of the American population shifted and as automobile ownership ceased to be solely the domain of the wealthy, attitudes about automobile tourists changed. The United States, in reaction to the disheartening carnage in Europe and the faded idealism of the peace negotiations, turned inward and focused on itself and its prosperity. The flow of European immigrants was seen as an unfortunate turn of events rather than a source of strength and pride. Consequently, immigrants that already lived in the United States were generally viewed with vague misgivings. This concern, along with a steady drop in automobile prices and the willingness of newly-arrived immigrants to travel across country in search of work, caused middle-class tourists to cease being as friendly with every motorist encountered along the roadway. Under this new class-based dynamic, automobile vagabonds no longer represented a jaunty image of adventure, but one of the motorized gypsy—constantly moving in search of work. The more well-to-do tourists began shunning the rustic auto-camps of the pre-war years in favor of professionally run areas that charged fees, and eventually, choosing the option offered by the developing motel industry. [22]

As this shift from rustic camping to organized lodging occurred, the American roadside began its metamorphosis from locally-owned, personalized travel services to the more impersonal and routine accommodations found along today’s highways. Emily Post noticed the first stirrings of this change in a work she published chronicling a motor trip she undertook in 1916: “You arrive at night and leave early in the morning and all you see is one street driving in and another going out, and a lobby, dining-room, and a bedroom or two at the hotel.” [23] Hoping to create a more inviting atmosphere for tourists, in June 1953, Statesboro business leaders joined the national Highway 301 Association, composed of local leaders in each of the states through which the highway passed. Realizing that the tourist business was a form of industry liable to regulation, this roadside association acted as a booster club or a nascent tourist bureau.

These men were well aware that an unfavorable experience in Statesboro could cost local businesses money not only then but in the future as well. One traveler said it well: “If at your leading hotel he badly was bedded and poorly baited he will remember your town forever a a spot to be cursed and avoided.” [24] Local Statesboro businesses lived by the same rules, encouraging friendly service within the city and at the same time, warning travelers to avoid towns further along the highway. Thus, some communities such as Darien and Ludowici gained reputations for speed traps, gambling, and clip joints. The latter’s traffic practices caused very large headaches for the other towns along the highway, and the 301 Association was vigilant in its attempts to divert traffic from that community. Lavinia Strickland was warned never to stop there by her father—a member of the Statesboro local chapter. “I remember very clearly,” Mrs. Strickland recalled, “my daddy telling me that if I had a flat [tire] or if my car broke down anywhere in that area of Ludowici, I was to walk to Jesup. I was not to stop anywhere along there because they hated him so bad.” [25] Yet, even as the local highway association strove to attract tourist business, changes took place that ironically succeeded in pushing them away.

Following World War II there was another major shift in tourist practices and both the nature of the roadway and the traveler’s use of it resulted in a restructuring of local communities along the main tourist routes. Construction of Interstate highways began in the early 1960s, emphasizing long-distance trips between cities along routes abreast of, but separate from, towns and local businesses. Once, travelers had leisurely motored down the coast, enjoying the distinctive regional cultures and local establishments of the nation. Once, it was not unusual for some to assert that “a good meal in an interesting restaurant could fix a town firmly in a tourist’s memory.” [26] But increasingly in post-war America, travel was more about speed and destinations, utilizing new road surfaces and dependable, durable, more powerfully motorized cars. For instance, advertisements for the 1955 Pontiac boasted the “Sensational Strato-Streak Rocket V-8” and the 1955 Ford offered “Trigger-Torque ‘Go’ Power.” [27] In this era of travel, one might make a comment similar to a prophetic editorial of the 1920s: “We pick out some distant point for the sources of our pleasure and then race toward it, and if our automobile works well and the highway is not too congested, we come back and proudly boast that we made our goal in twenty minutes less than the required time.” [28] This mind-set has become so ingrained that it is now a stock characterization for most television sit-com dads.

The changing roadside caused changes in automobile services as well. Once, local service stations, motels, and restaurants served the needs of motorists, but the isolated nature of the Interstate caused a shift away from towns to the remote interchange areas alongside exit ramps. “The activities and sense of life accumulated along the margins of the old towns was absent,” observed the geographer John Jakle, “The new roads cut boldly across the established grain of things, and there was little to see on a freeway except the monotony of the road itself.” [29] Eventually the driver lost connection to the landscape and turned inward, ignoring the towns that had once been points of surcease along the way, but were now only distant areas flung along the off-ramp of an expressway. These towns increasingly served merely as a sort of mile marker, an indication of the distance traveled and the remainder left to go.

The automobile made its mark within the towns and cities as well. The wider travel range that modern cars offered created more choices to drivers once dependent upon local services. As a result, the locally-owned merchandise stores either closed down due to greater selection elsewhere or were force to limit their sales to one or two specialty items, further devaluing their already precarious economic position. In modest and large cities alike, corporate department stores began moving out of the downtown areas, buying cheap land on city outskirts that provided ample room for massive praking lots. A store owner in downtown Atlanta was forced to close his doors because “[t]raffic got so congested that the only hope was to keep it going. Hundreds used to stop [in downtown merchant areas]; now thousands pass. Five Points has become a thoroughfare, instead of a center.’" [30]

As freeways moved away from the centers of towns, commercial strips on the outskirts gained more economic worth. These strips developed along the road-edges of small towns that linked to the expressway. In the 1960s and 1970s local businesses were pushed out by corporate interests that created national chains of motels, restaurants, and gasoline stations. [31] The spread of commercial strips and nationwide chains of services acted to dilute the regional differences that travelers had once treasured and sought. As small businesses succumbed to the might of national corporate ventures, and as speed and destination replaced notions of travel adventure, local charm was increasingly devalued and less sought out; isolated towns slowly withered due to the immense efficiency of the modern Interstate system. Jakle states: “[I]t was a standardized world thousands of miles long, which constantly intersected itself. At every point, travelers found the same cigarettes, the same breakfast foods, the same radio and television programs, the same topics of conversation.” [32] The outspoken antebellum senator John C. Calhoun had once hoped that the national highways would unite his country into a single nation—lessening the sectional differences that so often plagued it. Ironically, the highway certainly did unite this nation, but also helped dilute a vibrant part of its character as well.

The construction of modern Interstate highway systems in the 1960s and 1970s increased and solidified the move towards impersonal travel that began in the late 1920s. The majority of tourists no longer hopped from town to town, planning a daily schedule of stops at old familiar waterholes. Instead they raced along the transportation lanes, oblivious to the communities left behind. Travelers, encased in their speedy automobiles, hovered within the faceless world of commercial roadside strips, ignoring the towns that still existed just down the road. Lavinia Strickland remembers the days when an individual could drive through Statesboro and never see a local license plate: “I mean up and down South Main [Highway 301] you’d never see a local tag. The reason was because [the locals] knew to use Zetterower and College [Avenues]. But everything that went through Statesboro [on 301] were tourists. . . .” [33]

Much of those days are gone now in Statesboro. Its university, Georgia Southern, has become the major industry and certainly has helped keep Statesboro from the fates of so many communities that stand along the edges of Highway 301, where abandoned motels and businesses stand like headstones, marking the presence of former towns. There has been a change in an aspect of the American culture because of the Interstate freeways. John Steinbeck captured that change succinctly: “When we get thruways across the whole country, as we will and must, it will be possible to drive from New York to California without seeing a thing.” [34] Steinbeck was right, but for the wrong reason. Travelers had not lost the ability to see anything—there just no longer existed anything for them to see.

**Chapter One NOTES**

[1] J. Shields Kenan, "A Monumental Undertaking," Bulloch Times, 28 February 1957, p. 2.

[2] Norman T. Moline, Mobility and the Small Town, 1900-1930 (Department of Geography Research Paper Set no. 132, Chicago: University of Chicago, 1971), 85-87.

[3] Ogle County Reporter,13 May 1925, p. 4. In ibid, 100.

[4] Howard Lawrence Preston, Dirt Roads to Dixie: Accessibility and Modernization in the South, 1885-1935 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1991). Preston devotes a chapter to an examination of the Good Roads movement in general, and particularly emphasizes the differing goals of those Progressives who wanted to integrate the South with the rest of the country via the highways and those “good road” Progressives who wanted improved roads in the South only to stabilize the fleeing of rural dwellers into “dangerous” cities, fearing that highways and increased automobility would weaken the South’s agricultural heritage. For a specific examination of the Good Roads movement in one southern state, see Jeannette Keith, “Lift Tennessee Out of the Mud: Ideology and the Good Roads Movement in Tennessee,” Southern Historian 9 (Spring 1988): 22-37.

[5] Eric Hill Associates, U.S. 301 Regional Development Study: Effects of the Opening of I-95 on the U.S. 301 Corridor in Georgia and Recommended Action Plan (Commissioned by the Altamaha Georgia Southern Area Planning and Development Commission, Atlanta: Eric Hill Associates, 1973).

[6] An enlightening examination of the transformation of Route 66 from road to icon to obscurity is found in Susan Croce Kelly and Quinta Scott’s Route 66: The Highway and its People (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988).

[7] Melissa Fay Greene, Praying for Sheetrock (New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1991), esp. Chapter 5. Darien is located approximately ninety miles from Statesboro on U.S. Highway 17.

[8] Ibid., 56-59.

[9] See Warren James Belasco, Americans on the Road (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1979) for a complete examination of the early days of automobile travel in the United States. Also Jakle, “Motel by the Roadside: America’s Room for the Night,” Journal of Cultural Geography 1 (1980): 34-49.

[10] Lavinia Bryant Strickland, interview by author, 19 February 1995, tape recording, Bulloch County Oral History Project, Statesboro, Georgia, tape nos. BC33DM and BC34DM. Unless otherwise noted, all interviews were conducted in Statesboro, Georgia.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Lavinia Bryant Strickland, interview by author, 11 December 1996, tape recording with transcript.

[13] Richard Irwin found that in non-metropolitan counties, colleges were the most important factor in county population growth and the presence of Interstate highways the second-most important influence. Irwin discussed this phenomenon in “Non-metropolitan population changes, 1960-1970.” Paper presented at an annual meeting of the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Washington D.C., 23 April 1971. Cited in Ke-Shin Wang, “A Longitudinal Examination of the Effect of the Interstate Highway on the Economic and Demographic Growth within Nonmetropolitan Counties in the State of Georgia, 1960-1980” (Ph.D. diss., University of Georgia, 1987), 17-18.

[14] Strickland, 1995 interview.

[15] Belasco, Americans on the Road, ch. 5.

[16] Leodel Coleman, “Editor’s Uneasy Chair,” Bulloch Herald, 8 June 1950, p. 2.

[17] Turner first presented his paper at the 1893 American Historical Asociation meeting in Chicago. The closing date of the frontier came in his essay “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” in The Frontier in American History (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1921), 1.

[18] See Peter J. Ling, America and the Automobile: Technology, Reform, and Social Change (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990).

[19] Although Warton’s experience was motoring in France, her description reflects the American concept of auto travel perfectly. See Virginia Scharff, Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming of the Motor Age (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991), 24.

[20] The Family Flivvers to Frisco (New York: Appleton, 1927), 9. In John A. Jakle, The Tourist: Travel in Twentieth Century North America (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988), 7.

[21] Ralph D. Paine, “Discovering American by Motor,” Scribner’s Magazine 53 (February 1913): 144.

[22] Belasco, Americans on the Road. Chapter Five gives an excellent account of this shift in attitude.

[23] Emily Post, By Motor to the Golden Gate (New York: Appleton, 1916), 52. In Jakle, The Tourist, 254-55.

[24] Irvin Cobb, Some United States (New York: Doran, 1926), 38. In ibid, 255.

[25] Strickland, 1995 interview.

[26] Jakle, The Tourist, 168.

[27] Advertising information furnished by Dr. Craig Roell, 4 April 1996. Christopher Fiinch’s Highway to Heaven: The AUTO Biography of America (New York: Harper Collins, 1992) also offers an entertaining narrative to these headstrong days of Detroit iron.

[28] Ogle County Reporter, 30 July 1925, p. 4. In Moline, Mobility, 100.

[29] Jakle, The Tourist, 190.

[30] James J. Flink, The Car Culture (Cambridge, MS: The MIT Press, 1975), 178.

[31] Ibid., 191. For more information on the development of gasoline stations see John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle, The Gas Station in America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).

[32] Jakle, The Tourist, 192.

[33] Strickland, 1995 interview.

[34] Travels with Charley in Search of America (New York: Bantam, 1962), 89. In Jakle, The Tourist, 190.



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Saturday, May 13, 2006

TAS: A problem of loyalties

January 20, 1993

I was glancing through one of the campus papers last week when my eyes happened to fall upon a story about the University's plan for a new ID card design.

I am not going to spend time debating whether or not anyone needs a new ID. I am going to spend my time debating the picture on the front--and what lies beneath it.

As luck would have it, the people in the proposed picture are football fans frolicking at Paulson Stadium. So, I believe that I am within my rights to fill up space on the sports page discussing identification cards.

My question to all of you is--Why Football? According to Tom Pafly, Director of Food Services (the department that handles the creation and distribution of ID cards), "We were looking for something that screamed GSU."

Why do we insist on forever linking Georgia Southern with football? Now before you think I'm an idiot, I do know the answer. Otherwise I could never have this job. But forget all that for now.

I realize that the football success has helped to put Statesboro on the map, and I do not begrudge the football staff and players that which they worked hard for, but sometimes I think we go too far.

Consider, if you please: The Eagle mascot has a decidedly football-oriented build. (The only GSU basketball player built like that is Shawn Brown.) The majority of t-shirts on sale in the bookstore have a football theme. The sign on I-16 lists the football championships as vital statistics.

These choices are not arbitrary, so why are they made?

Georgia Southern's motto, which can be found on all the envelopes and letterhead, is Academic Excellence. All schools attempt to flaunt their scholarly achievements but usually what gets talked about is sports.

The story of the week concerning a university is not how they are preparing the next generation to take the reigns of society or about the dedicated professor who spends his or her time enriching minds and broadening horizons but rather focuses upon the coach who has failed to live up to the past.

But it is not football alone--that is just the best example at GSU. College sports has become a billboard filled with flashing lights. As a coach becomes more successful, lights begin to flash and the sign becomes brighter. As the sign becomes brighter, more and more prospective students begin to take notice.

As a result, a coach may be highly dedicated to the welfare of his players and push hard to make sure that they all work hard on the court and in the classroom, but if he doesn't have a winning season, he may not have a prayer.

A university should concern itself first with its primary goal--the education of its students. Athletics is a worthy pursuit, but the vast majority who participate will never have the talent to make any amount of money off of it.

I believe that everyone should take a closer look at their priorities, and if we do, we may all see what lies beneath the new ID.

And so I hope that the next time Georgia Southern University changes our IDs and is searching for something that screams GSU it will be a picture of a graduate with a diploma held high.



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Monday, May 08, 2006

TAS: A solution to all your woes

January 13, 1993

Have any of you noticed how people are walking around the school these first early days of winter quarter?

People are wandering from building to building with either a glazed-over look in their eyes or one of bewilderment and shock.

I like to call this syndrome Post Holiday Catharsis or, more commonly, Back-to-School Blues. This pitiable condition occurs when a test subject is inflicted with the mind-numbing drudgery and endless tedium of academic life after being given free reign for an entire month.

The sudden shock throws the mind into a holding pattern, reducing the individual to a mental state slightly higher than a hampster's.

I have often observed this phenomenon and pitied those inflicted with it, but I have hit upon a solution to the problem--a training camp of some sorts that serves to limber up the mind and ease students back into the daily grind.

Sure, why not? Athletes do it all the time.

All sports have camps to get the players back in shape before the season begins. It helps them avoid muscle cramps that might occur from pressing the body too much, too soon. It also allows the players to get themselves back into the rhythm of their sport and thinking with the proper frame of mind.

Let's look at an example. Since the Super Bowl is approaching, let's take football. Now consider what might have happened at the beginning of the season if Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson had been asked to perform his linebacking duties without the benefit of training camp.

He would probably find himself flat on his back while he wondered about his mortgage or anything else that occupied him during the off-season.

So I say, give students the same opportunities. Give us time to ease our way back into college life. Give us about a week to learn where our classes are, devise the best route through campus, and re-arm ourselves for the upcoming onslaught of books, syllabi, and homework.

Of course, as with any training camp, there will be rules.

Every day during that week, students must get up at eight a.m. to break the holiday habit of sleeping till eleven-thirty.

Also, everyone will be required to eat at Landrum to purge their bodies of any nourishing home-cooked food and to deaden their tastebuds. Even those in apartments must follow this rule. It is a necessary step towards accustoming the body to the Raman noodles that will nourish it throughout the quarter.

Given time, we may all slowly readjust to the rhythms of academic life and thereby avoid the dreaded Black-to-School Blues.

Now if we could only get them to pay us like they do professional athletes . . .



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Monday, May 01, 2006

TAS--A look at recent sports

January 6, 1993

Welcome back everybody! Winter quarter is finally here and with it comes a fresh supply of Georgia Southern sporting events for your viewing enjoyment.

yes, it's January and that means basketball here at GSU, a sport near and dear to my heart. Basketball is endless motion and plenty of action for everyone to enjoy.

Both of my parents are from Kentucky so I have grown up being a basketball fan. I love basketball because every game had the potential for nail-biting excitement. Momentum and crowd support mean so much in a basketball game and can help push teams to greatness. A case in point is the already classic Kentucky -- Duke game of last March, which I am still recovering from.

But before we can devote our time totally to basketball there are a few loose ends to tie up concerning the football season.

First of all, a hearty ROLL TIDE to all the Miami fans out there. Normally I am not a die hard 'Bama fan, but when it comes to Miami any opposing team is preferable. I have said (under my breath) that Miami was overrated and that Gino didn't deserve the Heisman trophy. The Tide proved me right Friday night.

The Hurricanes could not match Alabama in intensity and nobody could match their speed. Gino played like he was in a daze all night long. So that game went just as planned.

Another great game that I saw over the holidays was the I-AA championship game between Youngstown State and Marshall. There were a few reasons why I was pulling for Marshall in that game. First of all, Youngstown denied Georgia Southern a chance at the playoffs in their final game of the season. Second, had they won YSU would join GSU at the only other team to win back-to-back championships. I prefer the Eagles to stand alone. Third, any football team with a wimpy mascot like a penguin deserves to lose.

Marshall did win the game 31 - 28, but in true Cinderella fashion. They won on a 22-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining by Willy Merrick, a kicker who had never kicked one in his entire college career! Marshall's regular kicker, Merrick's brother, was suspended before the game for missing practice.

I was up out of my chair wishing that ball through the uprights and when it was good I jumped for joy. Even if the Eagles couldn't make it, at least their spoilers didn't get to enjoy it either.

So anyway, that pretty much gets everything up-to-date. Goodbye football, bring on the round ball.



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