1927 Prototype - Holt
Several years ago my wife and I were on a two
month camping trip, towing one of my antique travel trailers,
fulfilling one of our dreams. Well, then it happened. Something
every guy dreams of. Tooling along at about 60 mph. my wife
suddenly scares me by saying, “Pull over”. I thought there was
something wrong. I maneuvered the truck and trailer to the side of
the road and asked “What’s up?” Her response,“ I think I saw an
antique trailer and didn’t tell you, and now I feel guilty.” Wow.
After 40 years of marriage, she is finally rubbernecking for cars
I’m a success. Now the good part:
“When did you see it, honey”? “Oh, about 45 minutes ago.” Pretty
sly if you ask me. She didn’t think that after 45 minutes I would
turn back. She also told me that it was completely covered up and
probably a horse trailer. But then she made the mistake of telling
me that what she could make out was a wooden wheel. Much to her
surprise, I turned around, and went back, on the prowl. The rest is
When we finally found the trailer
again, it was in a locked up storage yard behind a fence. “Honey,
I’ll be right back, don’t worry”. I scaled the fence, peeled back
the tarp, and lo and behold, I darn near needed a defribullator.
What Jenay spotted was what many now think is one of oldest, if not
the oldest, travel trailer in the country that was NEVER USED. Just
recently pulled out of the barn by the granddaughter of the
builder. Pulled out of the barn after sitting on blocks with never
a tire on those wooden wheels since 1927. That’s right, 82 years,
hidden away, never seen before.
Nobody was around and it was late
Tuesday night. There was a nursery school next door and a lady was
sweeping the porch. I asked who this yard belonged to and she said
the people always come by on either Saturday or Sunday.
Think it was difficult to talk my
wife into sticking around for 4 days with the fantasy that they may
actually show up? Fortunately , there was a beautiful spot to camp
in and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in the area to see, so
Jenay consented to stay. Saturday morning a couple showed up, as
did we, and the real story starts.
It seems that in 1927 her
grandfather started building the trailer in the barn and nearly had
it finished at the peak of the great depression. Due to the
economy and his finances, there it stayed. Rooms were built around
it and grandkids used it as a play house.
Now, the old homestead was being
sold. The back of the barn had to be cut open just to remove the
trailer. The family was bickering over what to do with it. Nobody
wanted to sell it, everybody had a different idea. Out of the barn
for just one week when we spotted it, it was being used for storage
and was covered with a leaky tarp. The granddaughter flatly refused
to sell it due to the family squabbles. We left, but I didn’t give
up. I called every couple of months for a year. Then, one fateful
day I received the call. “It’s getting ruined. You promised me
that if I sold it to you my grandfathers folly would get
restored=finished, and possibly into a museum.” We agreed on a
price, I borrowed a flatbed trailer from a friend, and off I went.
Monday morning in Santa Cruz, California, Wednesday afternoon in
Farmington, Pennsylvania. I didn’t want to give anyone time the
change their minds.
Enjoy the photos. From the first
picture of the barn it came out of, through the restoration I
personally did 99% of, to the trailer being displayed for 6 months
at the famous Petersen Automotive Museum in Beverly Hills ,
Mr. Holts 1927 project. And his
granddaughter’s playhouse, and dream coming to fruition.
This trailer was on loan to the
Petersen Automotive Museum in Beverly Hills, California.