A Home on Wheels

A Home on Wheels
July 13, 2017 Toni Miltenberger

[We enjoy collecting ephemera when it involves the history of trailers and early trailer houses (motorhomes). We’ve had this little pamphlet for a number of years. It truly describes what a road trip was about when traveling in a recreational vehicle of its time.  I’ve copied the poem from the brochure word for word. Word usage, punctuation and spelling have not been changed in remembering and respecting the fact that it was written in 1919].

trailer house 1919
Written by Mrs. W.S. Myers
trailer house 1919 envelope
The pamphlet, “A Home on Wheels”, was mailed in this envelope. Even though somone handwrote, “The first trailer house ever built — Nov. 25, 1919”, there is no proof of what this meant — maybe the first one built by the manufacturer for themselves? 

A HOME ON WHEELS

A family in Houston by the name of Myers
Decided to live on rubber tires.
The family consisted of husband and wife
And Dorothy Scott Myers, who brightened their life.

They selected a chassis of Cadillac make
Length twelve feet one and cylinders eight.
On this they built a home complete,
Convenient, roomy and very neat.

They designed it themselves selected material the best,
Superintended construction, J.F. Cook did the rest.
It is ten feet long and six feet wide
With four good seats to sit and ride.

Height five feet ten from ceiling to floor
Front entrance each side by limousine door.
A folding bed is across the back
And above it a clothes and parcel rack.

Four wardrobe drawers are under the bed,
Which is five feet ten from foot to head,
And forty-eight inches side by side
With spring and mattress fit for groom and bride.

An aisle in the center three feet by five
In the rear of front seats where they ride and drive.
There is a window seat on either side
With good soft cushions two feet wide.

A table turns down in front of these seats
Where four can sit when it’s time for eats.
Refrigerator and lavatory stand on the right,
Electric dome and side lamps furnish light in the night.

Hot and cold water from air pressure tanks
Makes them often feel like saying thanks.
Hot air heat coming through the floor
Does the work it was intended for.

Near the right front seat is a cabinet neat
Equipped with thermos bottles complete.
In convenient view are several things new
That show them while driving what to do.

On the right hand door is a trusty gradometer,
Above the windshield an accurate thermometer;
A perpetual calendar is on the wall,
And a ship’s barometer shows rise and fall.

An electric fan placed overhead
Throws a breeze on seats as well as bed.
Mirrors above the front seats but near
Show through back window the road in the rear.

A three banner gas stove on the left of the aisle
Would make any good cook break out with a smile,
And the two burner ovens surely a treasure
And adds to their comfort in no small measure.

A knife drawer and dough-board are in easy reach
And mirrored cabinets on the walls for each.
Commodious cupboards are built on each side
With numerous shelves that are long and wide.

Seven limousine windows let light through the wall
And opague window shades darken them all,
A cigar humidor is in reach while you ride
And a small cabinet with cuspidor inside.

And the secret of all, arranged very neat
Is a porcelain toilet neath the driver’s seat.
The panels on walls and ceiling inside
Are formed of beaver-board two feet wide.

All the woodwork within is of golden oak
And the panels steel gray, which doesn’t show smoke.
These panels are trimmed with gilt moulding all round
And the clock in the cowl is always kept wound.

An electric cigar lighter in convenient place
Has a cord that reaches the driver’s face.
With drapery on the windows and rugs on the floor
It is a complete apartment and even more.

Mosquito bar netting is carried along
To keep out mosquitoes when they come with their song.
Three ten gallon tanks carry water galore;
The refrigerator holds fifty pounds or more.

A forked nozzled hose attached to the bibs
Give shower baths to their Royal Nibs.
An altitude meter is ready to show
The height of the mountains wherever they go.

A compass that guides them along their way
Is specially helpful on a cloudy day.
The body is built on the limousine style
And has stood rough roads for many a mile.

The roof is of canvas and the sides body steel
Curved and shaped almost to a gnat’s heel.
On the runboard under body on either side
Are commodious tool-boxes long and wide.

The outside is painted a soft marine blue,
Both design and construction are novel and new.
Complete weight of this home, with couple and daughter
And maximum load is three tons and a quarter.

It cost nearly ten thousand this home to build,
They could have sold for fifteen if they willed.
We have tried to describe this home on wheels
Where they ride and sleep and cook their meals.

Now we will tell you of the trip they took
Which if told complete would make a big book.
They started from Houston on June twenty-nine
With great anticipation and feeling fine.

They stopped at Dallas till July eight
Then headed north for another state.
The land looked good and the crops very fine
And the day they left crossed the Texas line.

The weather was warm and the roads very dry
And quickly they passed many villages by.
They crossed Oklahoma and Kansas too,
Where the crops were good, making a beautiful view.

And in a few days they reached Kansas City,
Where crowds gathered round, both the wise and the witty,
Who admired the home, praised mechanic and designer
And said work or design could hardly be finer.

Then came Des Moines, Iowa’s great pride,
Where some of their very best friends reside.
They visited other places three weeks in this state
They headed west toward the Golden Gate.

They went through Denver to Yellowstone Park
And the trip all the way was a pleasant lark.
The roads in Wyoming were generally bad
But the weather much cooler than some they’d had.

In places the roads were extremely bum
Yet none affected the Cadillac’s sweet hum.
The sights in the Park are wonderful and rare
There is nothing just like them in the world anywhere.

They drove out of the Park from the western side
And started northwest for a long mountain ride.
They passed through Butte and Coeur d’Alene
And many other towns including Spokane.

The roads in Montana were generally good,
A great deal better than they’d understood.
In Idaho and Washington the same was the case,
With road improvement progressing nearly every place.

The ride and the scenery through the Sierra Nevadas
Were as fine as e’er seen by the greatest globe-gadders.
Here the trees are large and thick on the ground,
And the foliage as pretty as ever was found,

The air and water as pure as can be
And the sights on this trip everyone should see.
After reaching the summit they gradually went down
To the much-boomed city of Seattle town.

Here they drove around some and looked the town over
Then asked the Auto Club about the roads to Vancouver.
The distance in miles is one sixty-eight,
Which was mapped in three sections all up-to-date.

Each map was about the size of your hand
And a quarter each is the price they demand.
All other Auto Clubs that they went to see
Gave maps and information kindly and free.

They hastened from Seattle o’er the Canadian line,
Found the roads rather rough but the people fine.
Big woods and fine foliage adorned the scene
But as a farming country it looked rather lean.

They liked Vancouver and enjoyed their short stay
But on account of cold, rainy weather hurried away.
Tacoma was next on the tour they had planned,
And there they were met with a friendly hand.

They liked the welcome, stocked their larder here
Then continued their journey to Mount Rainier.
This snow-capped mountain is the pride of the West
And the scenery going to it is among the best.

Then they drove to Portland and down to Seaside
And up the grand Columbia River ride.
Next they headed south to Crater Lake
Which is a wonderful sight, a trip all should take.

Then they drove on southward to the Golden Gate,
Their real objective, California State.
Here the splendid paved highways, the fruit trees and flowers,
Made them feel like riding for hours and hours.

And beautiful Los Angeles, the climax of the trip,
Tempted them to locate and unpack their grip,
With its delightful suburbs and resorts at the beach,
All charming and lovely and easy to reach.

But after three weeks in this climate so grand
They started for Texas, their loved home land.
The weather was pleasant, they enjoyed the ride
‘Mongst walnut and orange groves through Riverside.

Then they soon struck the desert, but kept on their way
Over rock and sand roads, through Coachella Valley.
Here they use irrigation and grow delicious dates,
The best produced in the United States.

Near the city of Blythe the Colorado River was crossed
And the sight of California to them was lost.
The roads of Arizona were not so bad,
Yet when they reached Phoenix they were very glad.

Here the Salt River Valley is all irrigated
And the soil, climate and water extremely well mated.
This valley is large, the land very rich
And thousands of acres are under the ditch.

Here the cotton grows about ten feet high
And obstructs the view as you’re riding by.
And they were told by a man called Baker
That a common yield is a bale to the acre.

After seeing the valley and about all the rest,
Everything considered, they believe it’s the best.
Several places were passed of more or less renown,
Tombstone, Tucson and Bisbee, the famous copper town.

Then the city of Douglas, where they smelt the ore,
And where border troubles nearly started a war.
Next came Lordsburg and Deming, New Mexico,
And on to the city of El Paso,

A first class city on the Mexico line,
Where they felt they’d reached home and were treated fine.
They stopped here a day and received their mail,
Then started home o’er he old Spanish Trail.

This took them to Fort Stockton where there’s a big spring
That furnishes water to grow everything.
Some roads they traveled were hard to go
But they finally reached San Angelo.

They passed through big cattle ranches day after day
And couldn’t realize Dallas was so far away.
The cattle ranches faded and farming land came in
Round Ballinger, Brownwood, Comanche and Dublin.

Here good crops prevailed and so did mud holes,
Near Dublin they stuck and had to pry out with poles,
And with the help of a good little team,
And applying all the Cadillac’s steam

They finally landed on the other side
Of a quicksand bog-hole half a city block wide.
They were cheerful all thru it, didn’t complain at their luck,
For this was the first time they had been stuck.

They pulled thru many places where they needed a boat
But this was the first that that got the Cadillac’s goat.
They crossed mountains and ditches, mudholes and streams,
And many bad places where others used teams,

And could have pulled thru this with the Cadillac’s own action
If there had any bottom where the wheels could get traction.
From Dublin to Dallas the roads were rough,
But Dallas was reached in time enough.

Here good friends greeted them with welcome smiles
After their tour of ten thousand miles.
They had the car greased and put in good order
And found good roads to Hill County border.

These roads are black sticky, free from sand, rock or gravel
Cut up with deep ruts and extremely hard to travel.
They finally got over them without the help of a posse
But again stuck in quicksand six miles below Kosse.

They pried up the wheels, built a lot of brush road
And managed to pull thru after lightening their load.
They knew of Navasota bottom’s bad reputation
But passed over it without stop or hesitation.

Then good roads lead to Houston and they stepped on the power,
Running most of the way more than forty miles per hour.
Good old Houston was reached about four p. m.
Where many good friends kindly welcomed them.

The date they reached home was November twenty-one
Having lived in the home since the trip begun.
This car was not built to spend unneeded wealth,
But principally to benefit designer’s health.

He had nerve prostration and diabetes too,
And for several years had been feeling blue.
Driving quieted his nerves and diverted his mind.
The exertion caused assimilation of food of every kind.

A remarkable improvement in his health was obtained
And twenty pounds the weight that he gained.
The family all gained knowledge, pleasure and health
Which they could not exchange for any wealth.

Dorothy’s age was past eight months when the trip begun
And when they returned past a year and one.
When they started the tour she weighed fifteen pounds
And gained seven more during the rounds.

She thrived all the way, grew hale and hearty
And during the trip was the life of the party.
They have made several long tours, each with a different car,
But the Cadillac proved a wonder and the best by far.

It was never out of order during the entire drive,
And total breakage expense only a dollar thirty-five.
The mileage per gallon of gas they burned
Was neatly eight from start till they returned.

And now as to tires, they give you their word,
They believe non equal the Goodyear Cord.
On thousands of mile that were rocky and rough
The Goodyear proved they wee made of good stuff.

The fabric seems stronger than any they’ve used
And they seldom blew out tho badly abused.
And finally in concluding, they are happy to say
The entire arrangement proved a success all the way.

Some petty annoyances they can call to mind
But they had no serious trouble of any kind.
This leaves them at home amongst friends that are dear,
With a long tour planned thru the East next year.

W.S. Myers,
Myers-Spalti Mfg. Co.
Houston. Texas
November 25th, 1919