Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Enterprising Motoring Duo Saw City at Its Worst

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Enterprising Motoring Duo Saw City at Its Worst

Article excerpt

They came upon a midnight drear.

A little poetic license, perhaps.

But it rained cats and dogs the Christmas the J.S. Basels rolled into town in their Fordalow.

What did the Basels care?

Let it rain, let it snow, they were snug in their Fordalow.

It was the darndest thing the locals had ever seen that Christmas of 1916.

For the first time in memory the Yule was being totally washed out - bridges were barricaded and damages were in the thousands of dollars.

And sloshing through the elements came the Basels, all the way from Oshkosh, Wis., in their literal home away from home.

The Fordalow was a bungalow on a Ford. The Basels were the forerunners of the "tin can tourists" that would make trailer life a staple of Americana.

"A complete home is this interesting contrivance," said The Florida Times-Union.

The newspaper said the Fordalow was the invention of Basel. Most of the construction was done by him. It weighed 3,290 pounds and had traveled 1,952 miles.

"Not a particle of trouble have we seen since we left home in Wisconsin," said Mrs. Basel, charitably overlooking the fact that the Land of Sunshine was being washed away.

Not for 13 years at any time had the city seen such rain, and probably never at Christmas time.

Three days of northeasters and exceptionally high tides had flooded McCoy's and Hogans creeks. Bridges on Hogan, Julia, Laura and Stockton streets were closed. Seventy-six washouts had been barricaded. The Myrtle Avenue and Bay Street underpasses were flooded. Storm sewers were overwhelmed. There was no way to get to Riverside. Santa's sleigh had pontoons. He made quite a splash.

No problem for the Fordalow. The Basels were snug as a bug in their traveling dwelling ("motor home" had not yet entered the language. …

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