Thursday, December 3, 2015

Motor Migrants were a big problem in 1927 Weber County

                    -From a post card in D. Boyd Crawford's collection.

"MOTOR MIGRANTS latest problem on public hands: Weber County gets share" was a July 10, 1927 headline in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.
Even before the Great Depression struck, Weber County, Utah, had a significant amount of migrant people in cars, begging for gas and food and seeking places to camp.
A Riverdale storeowner reported in that story that up to 20 automobiles containing families had camped at night in farming areas near there in the past 6 weeks. Once these people earned enough money, or were handed enough funds, they moved on.
These so-called "Tramp Tourists" were all over the nation in that era.
Murray K. Jacobs of Riverdale reported that he talked to one Tramp Tourist, a mother of five children, who told him she'd been on the road for four years without a home.
These vagrants often begged for gas at rural service stations. In larger cities, gasoline theft was becoming an increasing criminal activity.
Some youth tourist tramps were also encountered, whose goal was to beg or buy a gallon of gas a day and let that take them that much further down the highway.

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:

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