At Home on the Road
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.