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The New York Times, November 26, 1916, p. 2:|
The club car has just returned from a Southern exploration trip, the route being by way of Trenton, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Pinehurst, Columbia, Savannah to Jacksonville, then along the East Coast to Miami and all of the West Coast of Florida.
MOTORING IN SOUTH TO HAVE GREATEST SEASONMany Cars Already on Way and Hotel Reservations Point to Crowds--
Latest on Road Conditions.
By O. M. WELLS,
Chief Road Man, the Automobile Club of America.
This trip is made yearly, and we find this year about 50 per cent. improvement on the roads over the last year. Hundreds of cars are now on their way from different parts of the North, and in talking to hotel men they say that thousands of inquiries are being made for reservations for the coming season. Motor travel to Florida has increased 60 per cent. in the last year, and this Winter is expected to break all records. The people of the South are very enthusiastic on the building of good roads and hundreds of miles are now in course of construction, and by the Fall of 1917 most all trunk lines will be 75 per cent. hard surface.
A résumé of road conditions from Washington south, follows:
Crossing the Forty-second Street Ferry, running through Newark, Elizabeth, Rahway, Metuchen, and New Brunswick, all in good condition, with the exception of a short stretch just before reaching Metuchen, which is a trifle rough.
From Washington to Fredericksburg, the bad stretch crossing the big swamp just beyond Dumfries, which has been a menace to the motorist and a drawback to touring south, is now under construction and should be finished the latter part of January. There are eight miles across this swamp, and most of the work is filling-in, and when finished will be practically a causeway, which will cost very near $40,000. At present after a rain the motorist would find the above section impassable and the alternate route, which would also be bad in wet weather, is via Fairfax Court House and Manassas to Fredericksburg. From Fredericksburg to Richmond there is a fair sand-clay road, which is passable in any kind of weather.
A considerable improvement has been made on the road between Richmond and Charlottesville; at the same time there are a number of stretches which are very bad in wet weather and so slippery that it is rather difficult to keep in the road after a very heavy rain. From Charlottesville to Staunton, connecting with the Shenandoah Valley route, all hard surface, in good condition and affords excellent scenery, especially over the mountain through Rock Fish Gap.
From Richmond to Old Point Comfort and Fort Monroe, via Jamesburg and Newport News, all graded and mostly in fair condition, with the exception of one or two stretches which are red clay and a trifle slippery in wet weather. This is an excellent side trip for the motorist going south. From Richmond south the first twenty miles to Petersburg are macadam, which has become badly worn, but is passable. Balance of route through Dinwiddie, South Hill, Boydton, Clarksville, crossing the State line just beyond Soudan, then through Stovall, Oxford, Bragtown to Durham, all open, graded sand-clay in fair condition, with the exception of a few stretches which have become worn and pitted, but are passable. From Durham to Pinehurst through Cary and Sanford all open and in good condition. From Pinehurst through Jackson Springs, Rockingham to Cheraw is a graded sand-clay road, which is commencing to show wear, with a number of badly pitted stretches, but passable.
From Cheraw to Camden is graded sand-clay, with some short rough stretches. The long iron bridge at Camden is graded sand-clay, with some short rough stretches. The long iron bridge at Camden over the Wateree River, collapsed during a heavy storm in the Spring and a ferry is now running which carries six automobiles at one time, taking ten minutes to cross. From Camden to Columbia is a graded sand-clay road which is fair. From Columbia to Augusta via Aiken is a sand-clay road mostly in good condition. From Augusta to Savannah via Sylvania is a fair graded sand-clay road, with one or two rough stretches to Sylvania, then an unimproved somewhat rutted road through Newington [illegible] to within ten miles of Savannah, balance excellent shell road.
From Savannah to Jacksonville there is an improved shell road for the first eighteen miles. There is a new bridge across the Ogeechee River, which was formerly crossed by ferry and always a bad wet place to get through. Balance is a marl road in fair condition to Darien. To cross the Altamaha River it is necessary to load the automobile on a flat car, and an excellent ramp and platform have been built by the railroad company and the train is drawn over with a small gasoline engine. The trip across the swamp is eight miles; charges $3 for each machine. There is somewhat of a delay on this trip; at the same time it is an excellent way to cross the river and a swamp.
A good shell road runs from the car landing through Broadfield to Brunswick. The first fifteen miles out of Brunswick is a good shell road, then alternating stretches of good and rough road through White Oak to the ferry crossing the Satilla River. A new causeway has just been finished from White Oak to the ferry. Alternating stretches of fair shell and rutted dirt through Kingsland to the ferry crossing St. Mary's river, then a rough and badly rutted stretch, but passable, to Yulee. From Yulee the balance of the route is good shell to Jacksonville.
From Jacksonville to Atlantic Beach there is a good brick road. From Jacksonville down the East Coast there are eighty-one miles of brick in good condition, and fourteen miles of shell through St. Augustine to Ormond.
There is a new road under construction between Ormond and Sea Breeze. There is also a road under construction between Knoxenbean Grove and Tomoka, and a new bridge recently finished across the Halifax River, between Tomoka and Daytona. The most fascinating trip is to run down on the beach from Ormond to Sea Breeze. There is a runway which the motorist can use to get on to the beach at Ormond, also an exit under the Clarendon Hotel at Sea Breeze. The motorist can drive as fast as the car will go on the beach, without any fear of arrest.
From Daytona there is a bridge under construction at Port Orange and a section is also under construction between Oak Hill and Fort Pierce. All of this construction work should be finished by Jan. 1, and when finished there will be an open road, all hard surface and in good condition, straight through to Miami.
The road is under construction, putting [illegible] between Daytona and Deland, and should be opened by Jan. 1. Polk County is building 150 miles of highway [illegible, possibly "which will be sand-"]asphalt, and when finished the entire trunk line from Kissimee through Auburndale, Lakeland, and Plant City to Tampa will be hard surfaced. As the road from Deland through Orlando to Kissimee is now all good brick, the motorist can cross the peninsula from Daytona to Tampa on all good road.
The brick roads of Florida are only nine feet wide, but heavy wire grass is planted in the sand on each side, three feet from the shoulder, making it easy for two cars to pass.