"Greybull to Billings - 150 miles of it!" (RG0849.PH:13-168)
Planning a vacation by car this summer? Long-distance car travel today is a breeze compared to the hazards faced by early motorists. Step back in time to the days when auto touring was an extreme sport with Road Trip! Life on Vacation with the Gehrkes of Lincoln, a photograph exhibit on displayed through June 30, 2001, at the Nebraska State Historical Society's headquarters building, 15th & R Streets, Lincoln. The exhibit featured photographs by Lincoln builder Edward Gehrke, along with the travel journals his wife, Margaret, kept between 1916 and 1939.
At a time when highways were few and far between, the Gehrkes traveled extensively across the United States in a succession of Buicks. Ed's photographs capture the challenges of camping, as well as the grandeur of destinations from Niagara Falls to the beaches of Oregon. Margaret's journals vividly record the hardships and joys of early auto touring, offering wonderful additions to the photographs themselves. Together, these collections provide a marvelous opportunity to examine the appeal of motor touring and the adventurous spirit embodied by these early tourists.
"Writing of these things." (RG0849.PH:6-51)
Photo albums and diaries in the Historical Society's Library/Archives collections form the basis of the exhibit. Jill Koelling, assistant curator of photographs, selected the images and diary excerpts for the display. "The quality of the photographs is far above that of the average vacation snapshots," Koelling stated, "but it's the added documentation offered by the travel diaries that makes the collection unique."
"Making oneself 'beautiful' for the day's ramble." (RG0849.PH:6-76)
The display also featured auto touring and camping items from the 1910s and 1920s, including a picnic set, auto water bag, tire chains, camping gear, and road maps. A special handout offered visitors tips on the proper care of their own vacation photos.
The exhibition continued through June 30, 2001, at the Historical Society's headquarters building, 15th & R Streets, Lincoln.
Nebraska History Museum