Tuesday – September 5th
Broke camp about 7:30 a.m. Passed thru Hot Springs, where we were shown around quite a bit. Drank some of the hot water, which they say has great medicinal properties in it. The scenery is beautiful thru the mountains, especially along the French Broad which runs thru Little Switzerland. Crossed over in Tennessee. The roads were bad. Got to Newport about noon. Wrote some cards while there. Stopped several hours in Knoxville. Cooked supper 10 miles west of there. A tramp came up and was going to stay at the same place so after we finished our supper we went about 15 miles near Clinton where we camped by a straw stack.
Approximate mileage 119 miles.
They were on the Dixie Highway all day. Hot Springs used to be called Warm Springs until 1886 when a hotter spring was found; at that time the town was renamed to Hot Springs. Hot Springs used to be a huge tourist area, but by the early 1910s fewer people visited. During the war (WWI) German POWs were interned there and in 1920 the major hotel there burned, so when Lloyd traveled through the area, there was little there except the springs.
Wednesday – September 6th
Got up early and proceeded over the “Dixie Highway” which was so rough you could hardly travel it. Went thru Rockwood a coal mining town. Then went over the mountains. Stopped on top at a spring and filled “Lib” up. Mostly a coal mining country. Hardly see a house every two or three hours. Camped a few miles west of Sparta. Had our first chicken supper that we didn’t pay for. “Mitch” got it on his good running and accurate grabbing.
Approximate mileage 97.4 miles.
The car “Lib” is named after Lloyd’s girlfriend and later wife, Elizabeth [Lib] Easley.
Lloyd states he went thru Rockwell but instead the town name was called Rockwood. Rockwood was named after the first president of the Roane Iron Company (and Coal) company. The Dixie Highway went thru the town along what is now Kingston Avenue. This has now become a historic district. The coal mine had a major explosion in 1925 where several people died.
The Dixie Highway was started in 1914 and stretched from Ontario, Canada to South of Florida. It consisted of 2 parallel routes. The Highway was also known as the Dixie Bee Line. The Dixie Highway was the first highway to link the rural American South to the urban North. The highway was promoted by Carl G. Fisher who also promoted the Lincoln Highway. Fisher ran the Prest-O-Light Battery Company in Indianapolis which manufactured battery-powered headlights. These allowed motorists to drive after dark. Fisher was also part of the group of Indianapolis businessmen who raised funds to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company.
The Dixie Highway Association published a magazine called the Dixie Highway. It focused on tourism and contained articles on improvements to the highway and the benefits of auto travel. The tourist articles were written mainly for northerners who were traveling south.
Lloyd traveled on the Dixie Highway until Rockwood. The Rand McNally maps and other maps show the Dixie Highway going through Rockwood, but the 1925 Mohawk-Hobbs guide has it going to the east. I think this is probably due to the competition between towns that I mentioned previously.
Thursday – September 7th
Rested fine last night. Left about 7:30 a.m. Roads are still rough. Went thru McMinnville and Murfreesboro “where Middle Tenn. normal and several other schools are located.” Met Mr. Hoper in Nashville, an old Army friend of McDonald. Camped about 10 miles north of Nashville. This part of the country is noted for its mule raising. Columbus being the largest mule market in the world. They have no stock laws I suppose for we have seen cattle all along the road today.
Approximate mileage 102 miles.
Normal schools were teacher’s colleges.
Again I think Lloyd had the wrong city name; the mule capital of the world is in Columbia Tennessee not Columbus. There has been a yearly Mule Day celebration in the city since 1840. I don’t think they actually traveled through Columbia, but instead they traveled close to there.
The 1927 Rand McNally shows that they were on the National Highway from Sparta to Nashville, however I am unable to find out any information about this highway. This is not the same “National Highway” they traveled on September 10th.