The Tin Can Tourists association formed to coordinate the conventions of the new and expanding practitioners of automobile-camper travel. Many of the images included in this section are from a collection at the Department of State, State Archives of Florida that documents the organization and activities of the Tin Can Tourists of the World (T.C.T.) from 1920 to 1982. The records consist of scrapbooks, photographs, convention programs, necrology (memorial) service programs, official records (constitution, by-laws, minutes), correspondence and an early membership list. The scrapbooks contain the bulk of the information available. They document the functions of the T.C.T., the various camp sites where meetings were held, the evolution of the trailers used and the automobiles that towed them, and the activities as well as the amusements enjoyed by the members.
Image number: PR01242
Signs read: "Keep to the Right," "Go Slow," and "No Peddlers Allowed."
Image number: N028617
Harriett belonged to Mrs. Harriett Warren, Mrs. Flora Kavanaugh, and Westel Ashe, all of Brattleboro, Vermont.
Image number: N028619
View of west end of camp; 3,000 campers, mostly in tents.
Image number: N028611
The Tin Can Tourists of the World (T.C.T.) was an organization of camping and "trailering" enthusiasts founded at a Tampa, Florida campground in 1919. The goals of the group were to provide its members with safe and clean camping areas, wholesome entertainment, and high moral values. The origin of the term "tin can" in the name is not clear. Some have suggested that it refers to the campers' reliance upon canned foods. Others have asserted the name refers to the small Ford automobile of the era, the Model T or "Tin Lizzie," which was a popular and affordable automobile option among middle class Americans from which the majority of T.C.T. members came. The modified automobile driven by Tin Can Tourists often included large metal barrels for carrying water attached on the vehicles' exteriors. The original recognition emblem of the T.C.T. was a tin can soldered to the radiator cap of a member's car.
The T.C.T. usually held at least two meetings a year. A winter meeting was held at a campground in Florida and a summer meeting was held at a campground in Michigan. The Florida meetings were held in various places, including Tampa, Sarasota, Ocala, and Eustis. These meetings provided the opportunity for transacting official club business and taking part in the numerous social activities offered. For many years these club gatherings provided places of exhibition to the manufacturers of trailers, mobile homes, and camping gear. This aspect of the gatherings continued until after World War II when manufacturers' trade shows took the place of exhibiting at T.C.T. meetings.
Image number: N028614
Image number: PC0218
Image number: PR01241
Otho Granford Shoup, Royal Chief of the Tin Can Tourists 1923-1925.
Although some of the early communities popular among Tin Can Tourists resisted the large gatherings of visitors and considered them unruly, Floridians soon began to realize the benefits of a new stream of tourists. The influx of car tourists helped spur further development of better roads in Florida, and inspired the creation of new roadside attractions and other service industries such as restaurant and visitor travel centers.
Image number: PR01245
Royal Chief Bob Foster's trailer.
Image number: RC03387
Image number: PC0465
Poem copyrighted by F.C. Pfeiffer.
Image number: PR01239
Tin Can Tourists camp is by the white filling station. The camp has electric lights, city water and every convience for campers.
Photograph of a Curt Teich postcard.
Image number: RC10555
The park was located at Florida and Waits avenues. The office and wash shed are shown.
Image number: RC09061
Image number: RC11254
Image number: RC11257
Image number: RC13832
Image number: RC06077
Gainesville had many tourist camps, and this one dates from the years immediately following World War I when traveling became popular and automobiles became more plentiful.
Image number: PR01243
Man to the right of the table is Otho Granford Shoup. Woman next to him is Rose Elizabeth Shoup.
Image number: N028602