Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt made me take another look at a couple photos of my grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring and her friends. The date was 25 March 1925. The place, Edge Lawn Inn.
Since in 1925 the girls were students at Harrisonburg Teacher’s College (now James Madison University - Go DUKES!), I could not imagine why they would have been staying at an inn. And where was it?
A search for the Edge Lawn Inn brought up a brief mention of it noting it was south of Harrisonburg. By “brief,” I mean THAT was the extent of the information. No picture. No history. Not even an exact location. My inquiry at the Harrisonburg Rockingham County Historical Society produced nothing either.
So I gave up on trying to find out more. After all, what is there to be gained other than perhaps a little factoid that had nothing to do with Velma or her friends?
Leave it to Sepia Saturday to make me look again. A broad Google search for a misspelled Edge Lawn - I typed “edgelawn” - gave me this ad for the Edge Lawn Inn.
|from Automobile Blue Book, vol 2|
on Google Books
|Velma Davis, Leta LeVow, and|
March 25, 1925
The picture of the inn rang a bell. I remembered another photo of the same group of girls in front of a house that I always assumed was the home of one of Velma’s friends. I reasoned that the girls probably spent the weekend with a friend from school. I knew it was not Thelma Hockman’s house since she lived next door to Velma in Shenandoah. Maybe it was Leta LeVow’s house in Waynesboro. Maybe it was Elise Taylor’s home in Staunton.
|Velma Davis and Thelma Hockman|
March 25, 1925
I checked the date. 25 March 1925.
I checked the clothes. Same clothes.
The house was apparently the Edge Lawn Inn.
Using my online newspaper subscriptions, I found several mentions of the Edge Lawn Inn as the venue for reunions, birthday parties, card parties, bridal showers, and other social events. The Edge Lawn Inn placed an ad promoting its Thanksgiving Dinner menu. A small notice advertising dishes and furnishings for sale hinted that perhaps updating was underway at the Edge Lawn Inn. Coincidentally - or not - there was an estate auction next door to the Edge Lawn Inn on March 25, 1925. Were the girls there to bid?
I saved the best for last. The news article is not about the Edge Lawn itself but about its former owner. What a headline!
Daily News Record
14 Oct 1927
There you have it - the sum total of what I have learned about the Edge Lawn Inn.
However, I learned quite a bit about the Automobile Blue Book in which the ad appeared. Published between 1901 and 1929, the Blue Books were a series of guides for people traveling the United States and Canada by car. The highway system was in its infancy. Roads were built for local travel, not intercity. The Blue Books relied heavily on maps and landmarks denoting when and where to turn since road signs did not always exist. Originally the aim was to provide point to point directions along routes connecting automobile supply businesses, auto repair and auto maintenance businesses. Advertisements were primarily for hotels, restaurants, auto dealers, and garages.
Unlike today’s GPS devices that point to shortest or fastest routes, the Blue Books followed the routes that offered interesting scenery and places for rest and maintenance.
Places for rest - like the Edge Lawn Inn. “Nothing too good for Tourists.”
Follow the route to Sepia Saturday - no Blue Book necessary.
© 2019, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.