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Heading Out

The Emmett Wilson Odyssey (in my Honda Odyssey) begins tomorrow morning.

I’ve driven in that car with my family across the United States four times; so, this jaunt down the East Coast seems like a wimpy road trip in comparison.

My friends, the true test of resilience (or, a marriage) is the survival through a 4,000 mile road trip with four children under 12 (one with questionable continence) that includes ongoing whine fests, and hours of mindless Disney Channel or Kidz Bop music. But I digress.

A timetable for a train that Emmett frequently caught to Chipley.

A timetable for a train that Emmett frequently caught to Chipley, Marianna, and points east on occasion.

Emmett used to go back and forth from Pensacola to Washington several times a year. The typical trip for him was about two and a half days on a train, which would make several stops along the way.

Also, it was comparatively expensive. Your average ticket, one way was about $40 in 1913 (the year he was elected Congressman). That would be about $650 in today’s cash. Driving straight through can be done in about 15 hours, and at about $250 (gas, food).

I thought about taking a train down, in imitation of the way Emmett traveled, but modern technology has made me impatient and more controlling, I think.  That, plus I do need to get around on my own a lot, and you can’t have a lot of appointments on this trip without the convenience of a car. Emmett never owned a car; he was able to rely on walking, catching the train, or catching the trolley to get to his destinations.

L&N Depot in Pensacola, 1906. Source: Shorpys.com

L&N Depot in Pensacola, 1906. Emmett did travel through this depot. Sadly, the building burned about 100 years ago. Another depot was built about 1912 a few blocks away. Today, that building is part of a hotel. Source: Shorpys.com

So, I’m off tomorrow, and will check in again as the adventures in exploring Emmett Wilson’s life continue. This should be an interesting research trip.

 

 

 

Categories: Florida History Research Status

jsmith532

Professor
The University of Maryland Global Campus

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