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===='Tin can tourists' loved Jacksonville==== Thirty bucks was a lot of cabbage for a can of sauerkraut. It was gladly paid in January 1921, for a special can of 'kraut. The premium was on the sum of its parts. It had great sentimental value, so to speak. ''Tin Can Tourists'' assembled north of Jacksonville the winter of 1921. The opening of the Jacksonville bridge across the St. Johns would open a lush vista of Florida that lay beyond the river. Like a big magnet, Jacksonville pulled the Tin Cans, the auto tourists of the day. The Tin Can crowd put a new face on vagabonding after the Great War. Automobile trailer tourism was somewhat a luxury. Not unlike RV life of today, perhaps, but a lot more primitive. It was a novelty, an adventure. One never knew what was around the bend. Automobiles themselves had not been around that long. Roads were routes of chance. There were no motels. Hardly any billboards. Not even Waffle Houses, if you can imagine such a thing. Ever on the cutting edge, Jacksonville had set up a Tin Can Tourist Park. The park was yonder out Main Street, west of the fair grounds. W.D. Flynn was superintendent. He ran a tight ship, by contemporary accounts. Campers gave the Jacksonville park high marks, The Florida Times-Union said. ''Jacksonville has a warm place in their hearts. Many declared they had sent dozens of letters and post cards to friends in other camps or back home, urging them to come here and accept the hospitality of Jacksonville.'' The can of sauerkraut entered legend when newcomers were initiated into the camp's ad hoc grand fraternal order. Following a festive and ritual weiner roast, the newcomers were entitled to the Grand Emblem of the Jacksonville Camp of Tin Can Tourists. Sadly there was no emblem. The can of sauerkraut would suffice. It was the last of several from the weiner roast. The group conscience decided to raffle off this last can. A kid bought it for 50 cents. ''Not enough,'' he exclaimed. ''Who's got sporting blood?'' The kid got $1.50 for the can, from a lady from Los Angeles. She put it up again. Another initiate bid $5; he wanted to put the can on his radiator cap. Flynn suggested half a can would make just as good an emblem on the radiator cap. An auction commenced for the second half. A guy from Peoria bought it for $11. Then they sold the 'kraut and the label. The kid's mother bought them, for $10. ''I'll put this under glass and keep it as a souvenir of the most enjoyable winter I ever spent,'' she said. ''After the can, contents and label were disposed of, it was discovered the one container of 'kraut had brought the organization $30, believed to be a record price for such a commodity,'' the Times-Union said. Flynn told the initiates the Tin Can Tourist must possess three requisites: ''To be able to ride and stick with anything that wiggles, slides or rolls, to be able to always find one's way about and to make a home wherever one may be and, last, to prove a good fellow, able to entertain and be entertained.''

tct_loved_jacksonville.txt · Last modified: 2018/09/12 16:25 (external edit)