Page 4 - Maryland Association of Campgrounds 2020 Directory
P. 4

Camping on a presidential scale ha

     As you anticipate your Maryland camping vacation in the
     summer of 2020, the Maryland Association of Campgrounds
     invites you to turn back the hands of time 99 years to the
     summer of 1921, when 10 days in Maryland defined  camping

      Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Warren Harding, Harvey Firestone
     in that era. It was then that President Warren G. Harding
     joined industrialists Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey
     Firestone – a group of wealthy friends who  referred to them-
     selves as “The Vagabonds” – for a camping trip on a 200-
     acre farm along  Licking Creek, in Washington County. Their
     campsite is commemorated today by a marker in what is
     now Camp Harding County Park, an interesting stop for
       history buffs.

                                   Camping at that time was
                                   not the rustic experience
                                   that one might imagine.
                                   Similarly to how wealthy
                                   industrialists gravitated
                                   toward exclusive destina-
                                   tions such as Newport,
                                   Palm Springs and Jekyll
      Henry Ford fishing
                                   Island, living in private
     mansions that they referred to as “cottages,” the concept of
     “roughing it” has  always  been somewhat subjective.  The
       caravan might include 100   vehicles, built  by Ford and
       running on  Firestone tires.  President Harding’s entourage
     alone  numbered over 40  people, including Secret Service
     agents and 10 White House photographers. It is thanks to
     those photographers that we have historical photos such as
     these to document the event.

     Although there was an extensive staff of cooks, drivers and
     other staff members, Harding still found time to chop wood
     and to ride along Licking Creek on the six horses that Fire-
     stone had shipped in from Ohio. They all found time to read
     the daily newspapers, dress in their suits and bowties, dis-
     cuss world events, dine family-style around a huge lazy
     susan that seated 20 people, and take the spontaneous
     naps that had always been part of Edison’s daily routine.
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