Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A 1946 Car Accident Sheds Some Light

Oh boy, oh boy! Do I have A LOT of new house history to share with you. First, Philip the Historian, bless his little researching fingers, has completed the entire deed history for our home (for free!)!!! Eeee! Second, my contact at the town office, Jeanie, just gave me a little treasure trove of Traveler's Inn & Coffee Shop related pictures and items to share with you. I was so, so, so excited! I started jumping up and down in the middle of the town office while promising to bring in arm loads of cookies. For reals! And Jeanie is still looking for an advertisement that she's misplaced, so there could be even more! It's way too much to do in one post, so I'll just start with this picture:

Ouch. That looks like a really bad crash. I started to feel guilty for getting so excited about this picture, so I said a little prayer for the people involved, and then continued to be really, really excited. I'm a bad person, but I'm learning to live with that.

The picture comes from a newspaper article about I-81 traffic and was published October 23, 2003. The picture itself is of a traffic accident which occurred in my town in 1946. The caption for the photo reads:
Those who think traveling on Interstate 81 today is hazardous can't remember what it was like on old U.S. 11 in the days before the federal interstate highway system was created. Heavy trucks moving alongside passenger vehicles on a three-lane road resulted in more than 30 deaths per year in our [our] county alone. This wreck, which occurred in [our] town in about 1946 involved a car and a tractor-trailer. The buildings in the background were on the the side of the main road across from the present day car wash.
Let's take a closer look at the background of this crash, shall we?

The tractor trailer probably belonged to Novick Transfer Co. out of Winchester, VA. Their slogan was, "Then 'Natural Bridge' between the North and the South." If your not from Virginia, and you don't get it, let me just say that we have a Natural Bridge. Ha. Ha. Ha. (Those are dry laughs.) It makes sense that they'd be travelling on Highway 11. The company was involved in a 1955 Maryland court case, Bell v. Novick Transfer Co., involving another tractor trailer related car accident. That's about all I could find on them.

The Nails Curio is actually my present day neighbor's house... Which explains a lot about the extremely small size of said house... The sign above the Nails Curio reads "Ansco Film" and "save 15 cents." (Why is there no "cents" sign on the keyboard??)

Ansco is a photography business which predates Kodak and produced inexpensive cameras for most of the 20th century. It looks like there is a picture of some Ansco Film and more writing on the sign above the Nails Curio, but that's all I can make out. So, I guess it was a nail salon and photography store? Neat and a little weird... However, not the main focus of my excitement.

That other building in the background... the back background... IS MY HOUSE!

And sticking out from my house, in the way back, just past the Novick truck, is a sign for the Traveler's Inn & Coffee Shop.

Looking at the postcard, I knew that there had been a sign hanging perpendicular to the Traveler's Inn so that it would be visible to the road.

And when I first saw the old picture of my house, I thought, "Wow! I really hope I can find a picture of that sign!" And I did!! YIPPY!!

Granted, it's not the best picture of the sign... It's grainy, blurry, and hard to read. But I can definitely make out "Traveler's Inn" and "Coffee Shop."

I just can't make out what it says in smaller print above and below.

Probably something like "clean rooms" or "reasonable prices". Philip the Historian says that he's seen a close up picture of the sign somewhere before, but he can't remember where. Hopefully, it will come to him someday in the near future. But in the meantime, I am satisfied to have anything!

This is so much fun! For me, anyways. You might think I'm a raving lunatic. And you'd be right. I am. Shh! Don't tell anyone!

FYI, all research was done via Google & Wikipedia and therefore could potentially be error-ridden.


  1. THAT'S SO EXCITING!!! :):):) This is the kind of history I can dig. ;)

  2. This is so cool. You are really making me want to find out some info on our house. Sounds like you are finding lots of awesome facts and photos as well as resources in the process. Can't wait to see more.

  3. As soon as I saw the picture I was like.."huh that house in the back looks like Caroline's" haha and then I read on and was like "ooo I knew it" haha :) I cant wait to hear more <3

  4. Lovely pictures! Even if they are of accident aftermath, it is still fun to look at since they are of your house. It would have been amazing if a photo wall could be setup for these images.


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