Every year, Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park is filled with campers from all over — many who come in vintage campers from yesteryear.
“This year, we have around 50 campers,” said Smoky Mountain Vintage Campers event organizer, Marsha Torbett of Johnson City. “Our oldest camper is a 1947 Curtis Wright and we also have a 1953 Spartan Imperial Mansion.”
Campers come from all over to show off their vintage campers.
“We have campers from Indiana, Vermont, Alabama and Colorado,” Torbett said. “It tickles me to death. This is our third year holding the event.”
Not only does the event have numerous vintage campers, the weekend also includes a cake walk, pizza buffet, and contests for campers and costumes.
Camper Ann Bundrick and her husband Dave of Lexington County, South Carolina, go to events nearly every month and come to this event every year.
“We have three campers,” Bundrick said. “A 1968 Airstream, 1967 Big Beaver and 1965 Cardinal.”
These classic trailers that take part in the event are ready for show, and their owners are more than happy to give you a story and a tour.
“Ours is the 1947 Curtis Wright. Back in wartime, they would use the metal from the planes to make the trailers after the war was over,” said Perry Tilghman of Chapmansboro. “We found the Airstream in the classifieds in Texas. We just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Though Tilghman says the body has been redone, the interior retains much of the original work.
“The cabinets and couch are original, though it has been recovered,” Linda Tilghman said. “We found a chair and covered it to match the couch.”
The campers that filled the grounds were all unique in their own way. And Ed Logan’s was no exception.
“This camper is a 1930 homemade camper,” said Logan, who is from Greenville. “It was made by a hunter. This is the same camper I went on trips in as a child. It is all original. Those are the curtains I looked at as a child.”
Not only is the camper vintage, but Logan was pulling it with a 1940 Buick Super that he used to ride around in with his father.
“This is my childhood,” Logan said. “When Mom and Dad passed, I got the car and the camper and it reminds me of those times.”
Many of the campers tried to recreate their campers to look like the time period from which they originated. Jerry King and his wife, Terry, of Maryville, did just that with their 1960s classic.
“We have had this camper for six years and put air conditioning in it,” King said. “We wanted it to have that 1960s diner look”
And having a small jukebox complete with salt and pepper shakers on the table definitely added to that feel.
“I have a few favorite things about this camper,” King said. “I love that it has a shower and that the kitchen is up front. Also, the ceilings are higher, which you don’t see in many campers.”
The Kings have three operational campers and have restored some.
“It’s fun. You get hooked,” King said.
Every camper had a story and background to it. And boy, did Chris and Teresa Wilson of Waynesville, North Carolina, have a humdinger.
“If you look back here, there is a bullet hole,” Wilson said. “And follow me this way, there is another one here, and here. There are six in total going down the side of the trailer. That’s why we named her ‘Bonnie’ from Bonnie and Clyde.”
The 1950 Star is original, bullet holes and all.
“We think it was a drive by, but I don’t know the history,” Wilson said.
The interior was just as unique as the outside, according to Teresa Wilson.
“The fridge is an original from 1950 and there is a beautiful farm sink,” she said. “There used to be a stove here, but it was taken out. We even have a chamber pot!”
The park was filled with nostalgia for anyone to come and enjoy.
“We just happened across the park and saw this was here. We got lucky,” said attendee Jill Mill, who was there with her husband, John. “We just thought this was a nice place to picnic, but we hit the jackpot.”
For more information on David Crockett Birthplace State Park, please visit here.