Harry & David Fruitiers. Medford, Oregon.
David Holmes, President of “Harry and David” (mail-order fruit baskets and gifts) was looking for ways to keep his workers busy during the January to July “off season”. Capitalizing on his life-long interest in travel trailers and modern design, he decided to employ his skilled workers in the production of a new travel trailer with a very modern and daring design. Holmes’ new “Holiday House” travel trailers were based on the standard aluminum skin over a wood frame design, but the overall styling was very progressive and “space age” and a huge departure from the familiar “canned ham” styles being produced by most other travel trailer manufacturers. Holiday House trailer production began at the Medford, Oregon plant on November 2, 1959, and reached full production level in February 1960. For 1960, Holiday House production included 17ft. and 19ft. models as well as a dual axle 24ft model. For model year 1961, the company strengthened the chassis, enlarged the bathrooms and lengthened the 17ft and 19ft models by one foot. Although well made and very stylish, Holiday House travel trailers were priced higher than most of the competition, so less than 200 units were manufactured for the 1960 and 1961 model years, before production ceased in January 1962. Besides the daring Holiday House with its “Googies” decorations and style, David Holmes is also famous for the super-modern limited-production “Geographic” travel trailer he began designing in mid 1960 as a “Trailer For The Rich”. Designed in conjunction with BMW race car designer Chuck Pelly, the Geographic’s styling was unlike any other travel trailer and was way ahead of its time. With a price tag of almost $8500, less than 10 of these strikingly futuristic all fiberglass marvels were ever made. Tragically, the original fiberglass molds survived a factory fire on June 17, 1962, only to be discarded in 1985 when the Harry and David company was acquired. Only one Geographic travel trailer survived, and a complete restoration in 2007 retained the original teak woodwork, Norcold refrigerator, Magic Chef oven and dual “fold out” Magic Chef cook tops. In 2010, this lone surviving Geographic was listed for sale for $135,000.
Holiday House trailers were the brainchild of David H. Holmes, President of Harry and David Fruitiers in Medford, Oregon in 1959. The firm used fruit packing employees to manufacture the trailers during the slow season from January to July. Holmes was concerned about keeping skilled employees during these slow months and also had a personal interest in travel trailers with a highly modern design. Production began on wood-framed, aluminum-sided trailers on Nov. 2nd, 1959 with full scale production by Feb. 1960. The 1960 lineup included the models, 17, 19, and 24. The 24 was a tandem axle trailer. For 1961 the model designations changed to 18, 20, and 24 with the two smaller models gaining a foot in length and all three models receiving chassis upgrades, larger bathrooms, and other added conveniences. Meanwhile, back in the summer of 1960, Holmes began working on what is now the most celebrated and rarest Holiday House model. Holmes had hired a legendary race car designer Chuck Pelly to design an ultra-futuristic space age luxury coach with all fiberglass body construction. Originally designated as “Model X” and later renamed as “Geographic”, this was without a doubt one of the most advanced travel trailer designs to date. According to various interviews with former employees, there were between four and eleven Geographics produced. There is currently only one known surviving Geographic which was restored in 2007. This is believed to be the original showroom model that was sold to a Holiday House employee in 1962. With an original price tag of $8,495 the public was not ready for this ultra modern trailer and no Geographics were reported sold with the exception of the one mentioned above. What became of the other unsold Geographics remains a mystery.
1960: Model “Seventeen, Nineteen, Twenty-Four, Geographic (Model “X” prototype)
1961: Model “18”, “20”, “24”, Geographic.
Production history of the Geographic is uncertain. Only one has been found. It is now thought there were anywhere from four to eleven Geographics built, according to archived news articles and interviews with people who worked in the plant during production.
Unique Panorama plexiglass wrap windows