TOURING FROM NORTH TO SOUTH
By R. H. JOHNSTON
[Originally published in the December, 1908 issue of TRAVEL MAGAZINE]
With the Grand Prize Race at Savannah engaging the attention of the automobile world, many tourists are now considering the possibilities of either traveling southward to the course by motor car, or of touring northward at their leisure after the race has been run. Furthermore, the season of the year is approaching when thousands of residents of the North invade the southland to escape the rigors of tne northern winter. Almost all of this class of travelers are owners of motor cars and many of them would make the trip in their machines if they were assured that the condition of the roads would permit. That the trip between North and South can be made by motor car is, of course, a matter of common knowledge, but very few articles have been published giving the exact data regarding the distances and road conditions which are encountered.
Many of the readers of TRAVEL MAGAZINE will remember my article in the May issue, wherein I described my tour from New York to Savannah. It will be recalled that the route which I covered at that tittle was by no means the most direct, but led by way of Gettysburg and Hagerstown and then eastward over the National Highway to Columbus, Ohio, thence southward by way of Cincinnati, Lexington, Louisville Nashville, Huntsville and Chattanooga to Atlanta. From Atlanta the route lay direct by way of Macon and Statesboro to Savannah. My idea at that time was not to travel by the shortest route but by that which offered the most interesting sights and scenes. In a previous tour of exploration I had traveled from Hagerstown down through the Shenandoah Valley by way of Winchester, Staunton, and Roanoke, Va. It recently occurred to me that, if I could map out a desirable route between Atlanta and Roanoke, I would then be able to supply my fellow tourists with complete data for touring by a direct route between New York and Savannah.
Starting away from Atlanta in our 30 horsepower steam machine, we proceeded via Law-renceville, Winder, Jefferson and Royston to Hartwell and six miles further on crossed the Savannah River into South Carolina by way of Brown's Ferry. The ferry is operated by the current in an ingenious manner, worthy of a few words of description. A cable is stretched from shore to shore, well above the level of the river, and the ferry-boat is connected by two chains to sheaves which run on the cable. By altering the relative length of the two chains, the angle of the ferry-boat to the stream is changed so that the current moves the boat in either direction which may be desired.
We covered a total distance of 120 miles between Atlanta and the South Carolina boundary. Almost all of the going was over rather poor roads, alternately of clay and of heavy sand. But it is a safe prediction that, within a few years, Georgia will have a splendid system of highways, such as even now cannot be found in three or four of the counties in which large cities are located. The change is being brought about, not because of an irresistible popular sentiment for good roads, but because of the recent overthrowing of the "convict lease" system. There had developed in Georgia a system whereby the convicts were leased to "convict brokers" at a nominal sum by the several counties. The brokers, in turn, leased out the convicts to the owners of mines, brick yards and lumber camps who worked the convicts "to the limit." As a result, a limited number of very influential citizens and officeholders benefited greatly by the system and the convicts were never sent out to work on the roads, except in three or four counties. The abuses of the "convict lease" system became so pronounced that a vigorous compaign against it was started a few months ago by an influential newspaper, The Atlanta Georgian. As a result of this campaign, the governor convened the legislature in extra session and the "convict lease" system was annihilated by statute. Therefore, there is now nothing for the convict to do but to work on the roads. If one county cannot use all of its own convicts on its own roads, it must lend them to any other county which applies for them. In South Carolina, we at once noticed an
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