Saturday, October 26, 2019

ever heard of the Schools at War program? a WW2 war savings bonds, program. No kidding, 32 million kids in 200,000 schools purchased $2 million dollars of bonds. The Jeep program along bought nearly 4 times the number of Jeeps the Army needed, and that was 1/3rd of the Jeeps used by the Army that year alone . But Stockton HS out did them all

This jeep was shipped to the battlefields of Italy, where German troops captured it as a war prize. The Germans had held the jeep for a year when Canadian paratroopers liberated it in Holland.

The Canadians, noting the Stockton high plaque, turned the jeep over to American forces at the war's end. The jeep was shipped back to the United States and wound up at an army disposal auction in Texarkana, Texas.

A Texas farmer bought it and used it as a utility vehicle for 10 years until it stopped running. The jeep sat in a field near the Texas-Oklahoma border for years, forgotten.

A story appeared in the Stockton Record about the jeep. Two brothers, third generation Stocktonians, World War II veterans and graduates of the war-years classes at the high school, clothiers Tom and Bob MacKeegan came forth immediately, wrote a check for the $5,500 and donated the car to the city.

Stockton High School's Jeep No. 151 was brought back to Stockton from Dallas, without charge, in a Red Ball Motor Freight truck - a company founded by soldiers who operated the famed World War II Red Ball Express for Gen. Patton in Europe.

The whole town turned out for Willy's homecoming. Alumni of Stockton High's classes of 1943, 1944 and 1945 walked behind the jeep in a parade through town that included several marching bands.

Willy the Jeep was made an honorary member of the American Legion and awarded an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, the first such distinction for an inanimate object.

Arrangements for the Willy's homecoming was highlighted by a Chinok helicopter arrival with actor Jamie Farr, March 17th, 1979

Jamie Farr was in the Army for 2 years, 1956-57, and served in Japan and Korea

and was part of a celebration and rode in the back of one of the Stockton High School purchased Willys Jeeps, (#151) as it went to the Haggin Museum (where you can find it now)

204 letters from soldiers to the students, are at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, thanking them for the Jeeps... 131 Jeeps were recognized in those thetters, which was the result of the little plaques on the dashboards that identified the Jeeps as donations from the Stockton High School students and faculty.  

It's a long article, but worth it. The 2000 students of this one high school near San Francisco were nearly heroic in their efforts to do anything and everything possible to raise money for the war effort.

We rarely remember, but it's often the truth: everyone in high school knows someone in the military, as a large amount of the military is less than one year from having graduated high school. 143 former students of Stockton HS died in WW2. One of these Jeeps surprised a 1940 alumni of Stockton HS during the war

Plus all the family members, older brothers, cousins, uncles etc, of the students in the military were always on the students minds during WW2. 

There was also school spirit and reputation on the line... schools that had greater than 90% participation were rewarded with a flag, and dropping under the 90% would result in them losing their flag to a rival school... what better way to mess with your historic rival school than to out achieve? 

18 of the Stockton HS went to the Philippines, 16 to Japan, 11 to New Guinea, 9 to Guadalcanal, and 1 even went to Anchorage.

2 of the Jeeps at Guadalcanal were used to install telephone and telegraph lines

The restoration was undertaken by a trustee of the museum, and that cost $43,000

  the Haggin Museum covers this historical story in great detail, with the letters, photos, and one of the Stockton HS Willys Jeep #151.

By the way, the museum owns 63 pieces of JC Leyendecker art. I've posted his paintings a couple of times, and their display of their Leyendeckers is the largest public display of his work in the world

You might want to skip down this article to the headline Stockton High School Goes To War

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As the years passed "The Great Jeep Project" was all but forgotten. The high school was converted into a junior high school in the early 1960s and in 1977 the old Stockton high was demolished.

Dialogues on the Delta: Approaches to the City of Stockton edited by Martín Camps

Alexander Motors, a Kaiser and Henry J (I haven't posted about those in forever) dealership that would give you a free Muntz tv (20") if you bought a car from them.

something like a legal monopoly

In 1929, South Carolina state Senators Richard Jeffries and Edgar Brown  (a.k.a. “The Barnwell Ring” leaders) pushed through a controversial statewide highway bill that lead to the Senate Pro Tempore controlling all statewide highway construction.

 This continuing control by the state’s senior senator is a lingering controversy today and has resulted in virulent lawsuits and the National Guard being called out to intervene between the Governor and the Senate, but the state Supreme Court has sustained this arrangement under the 1895 South Carolina Constitution

what's a flying tiger to do after the war? Go into hotel construction and ownership it seems, because he happened to inherit a ridiculous fortune in hotels from his dad, including the Waldorf Astoria. Seems his dad got rich from railroad hotelss.

The Robert Meyer Hotel had its groundbreaking July 9, 1957 in downtown Jacksonville.

The hotel owner was Jack Meyer, a former pilot from Alabama who flew with the Flying Tigers squadron in World War II. The hotel was named for Meyer’s father and brother, both named Robert. His brother died fighting in the war, his remains weren't found until the 1970s

it took a truckload of tvs to stock those rooms. Imagine the commission the sales guy made!

Opening in 1959 it was claimed to be Florida’s largest commercial hotel with 563 guest rooms to host business travelers and convention business that was never fully realized. The hotel went bankrupt in 1977, was sold in 1980, renovated and reopened under a new name but closed again in 1982. The building sat empty until February of 1998 when it was imploded.

meanwhile, in Orlando,

Walt Disney's was making plans to build Disney World, and while he did that, he stayed at the Robert Meyer Motor Inn. His parents had been hotel managers in Daytona Beach, of the Halifax, in the spring of 1888. When fall came along, things dropped off so significantly that the Disneys decided to move to Chicago where Elias found work as a carpenter for the upcoming Chicago World’s Fair.

So, where did the influence for Walt Disney's mega hotel and park management come from, along with building entertainment venues for millions of people? His dad. Next time you hear about dead beat dad's, you might recall this, and wonder just how much an impact a father has on the success of a kids life.

The Robert Meyer Motor Inn became the Kahler Plaza and then, in the late 1970s, the Harley. It became the Four Points by Sheraton in the late 1990s but closed in 2004 to evolve into The Metropolitan at Lake Eola condominiums.

Orlando attorney Finley Hamilton opened a Hilton Inn on Colonial Drive and then acquired ten acres on Sand Lake Road near an I-4 ramp to build the Hilton Inn South. Because it was so near Disney property, the Disney Company offered to manage it for Hamilton for sixteen months until Walt Disney World opened so they could train their staff for the Contemporary and the Polynesian.

Hamilton paved the nearby dirt road and wanted to call it “Hamilton Drive” but there was another street by that name in Orlando so he had to settle for “International Drive”.

 The Hilton Inn South opened May 1970 under Disney management and was the location where Disney executives stayed, as well as Disney transfers who had not found a permanent home yet. It was also open to the general public but the standards were extremely high because Roy O. Disney himself visited frequently and commented on flaws.

And now, for any other former Orlando residents who used to cruise I Drive, and have been all over the area, now you know some obscure history of it. Plus, you get an idea of how Disney was a success at taking care of guests in the many Disney hotels. He had his employees trained beforehand at another successful hotel.

back to Meyer;

so, he had a summer home in Monmouth Maine, lived in Birmingham, and owned a LOT of big hotels

Jack Meyer, returned from the China-Burma-India Theater partially blind from his service with General Claire Chennault’s “Flying Tigers” as a result of a shell burst. He was able to land the fighter plane he happened to be piloting, because his wingmate talked him through it.

After all, you don't need to see to fly or float, all you need sight for is so you can avoid colliding with the earth.

One aspect of his time in China benefitted him for the rest of his life, he had become a good friend of Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Soong May-ling) during his time in China. Perhaps it was her years of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, GA, where she picked up a southern accent, but in any event they became lifelong friends and she sought out beautiful Chinese jade pieces from the Qianlong Period(1736-95), and sent them to Jack for his personal collection.

In 1947, his dad, the founder of the Meyer Hotel Group, died leaving Jack a chain of “railroad hotels” located in the central business districts, designed to meet the railroad traveler’s needs, when railroads were the principal means of transportation.

 As a consequence they occupied large sections of extremely valuable commercial property. Among these hotels were The Waldorf-Astoria in New York, The Mayflower in Washington, The Emerson in Baltimore, The Windsor and Roosevelt in Jacksonville, etc.

While he did sell eleven of the older and larger ones, he also built the Robert Meyer in Jacksonville and the Robert Meyer in Orlando.

While he loved these hotels, the convention trade failed to materialize and he grew tired of operating a marginal venture. It was sold in the 1960s. He was more fortunate with the Orlando venture, building The Robert Meyer Motor Inn at the height of the Disney World boom and selling it for a handsome profit in 1973 (before the boom collapsed in 1974).

It's a nice way to retire, right? No businesses to operate and worry about, with a ridiculous amount of money in the bank.
you can learn a ridiculous amount about Jack Meyers on

when you're in the right place, and the right time, with the right tool, there is nothing to big or heavy to move. Not when you've got the only 150hp Case tractor I was so damn happy to post about last year

150 Case Road Locomotive recreates history pulling 4 engines up a 13% grade (for god's sake people, QUIT using your cell phone to record video VERTICALLY!!!)

This is a recreation of an original test the JI Case company did on the first Road Locomotive built in 1905.

in the realm of obscure and unimaginable, could you make up this actual scene... some archery camp for kids, with an amphib jeep, in 1956 Pennsylvania, the Cook Forest state park, and the Ampibia Amphibious Jeep Rides

on State Highway 36 along 10 miles of the Clarian River in north-western Pennsylvania.

the 11,536 acre park is known for virgin old growth white pine, and hemlock timber stands.

abandoned somewhere in the Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area

just surfing the webs and stumbling across obscure French illustrators, that's what I'm doing. What'cho been doing?

quite the similarity of theme, 2 dogs running alongside someone who is getting somewhere by the power of a drunk

referring to the Army soldiers in Jeeps chasing girls, and the military surplus Jeeps falling into the hands of a lot of civilian owners hands after WW2, and Korea

it's pretty weird to see a pleasureboat modeled alongside a fighter jet.

but as the boats were built in the manufacturing district adjacent to the airport, well, I guess someone figured that rich pilots were the target demographic for selling sport boats to.

This is a Borum Eldorado, 17', at the Imeson airport, Jacksonville Fla

Guy Williams had a fleet of over a dozen Cadillac taxis in Jacksonville Florida

maximizing the advertising effect of your dealership showroom... by using the slab sides of a van to show the other models of vehicles available to buy

In 2011, the first win for Shayna Texter on a flat track, was the 1st for any woman on a flat track

this Walters family of Jacksonville, Florida needed all the seating they could get, with 4 kids of their own, and 6 more that they took in

Manning and Martha Walters.
 Mrs. Walters worked for Sears downtown and Sgt. Walters was a recruiter in the Army.
Six children lived nearby with their mother and became wards of the state and were taken into the Walters’ home with their own four children for four years.

The Walters wanted to adopt them, but at that time it was impossible if the mother wouldn’t release custody. The Walters were transferred to California by the Army and Sgt Walters was sent to Vietnam.

VW donated the use of this van to the family.

The people in the picture are: (L-R) Anton, Roger, David, Michael Walters, Dawn, Patrick Walters, Pam and Kim (twins born in 1956), Dennis Walters, Lisa Walters, and parents Martha and Manning Walters.

Amazing acts of corporate charity like this are rarely ever learned of, I'm not sure, maybe they simply feel uncomfortable and awkward about looking to publicize the good deeds? 

Friday, October 25, 2019

I don't think I've ever seen or heard of a Jeep Panel Delivery before... but there was at least one

Have you heard of the tourist jeep trains and jeep tours? I just came across a website that seems to collect the post cards of the many 1950s and 60s tourist jeep things

Fairchild Gardens, Coral Gables Florida it seems.

The landscape architect who designed Fairchild was William Lyman Phillips who obtained his landscape architecture degree from Harvard in 1910.

His incredible talents landed a position with the highly regarded landscape architecture firm of Olmsted Bothers. At his young age he began a long association with Frederick Law Olmsted, one of the outstanding landscape architects in America. (which I posted about, as crazy as that sounds )

 In the ensuing years, Phillips worked in the Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. Phillips came to Florida in 1924. In 1933, he started working with the Dade County Park Department and drew plans for Greynolds Park and Matheson Hammock Park.

This "Africa USA" was near Boca Raton

a Deibler Trackless Train in Manhattan Kansas

Florida seems to have been a tourist destination for as long as there've been interstates and airports to get the tourists delivered

and saving the best for last.... a Jeep tour INSIDE a cave!

Notice that they upgraded to a newer Jeep that seems to have a natural gas fuel system, no doubt the exhuast gasses were upsetting customers