© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As It Was: Showman Attempts to Visit 48 States Sealed Inside Car

A showman from the Rogue Valley, Don Haynes, twice attracted public attention more than 60 years ago, and then disappeared from public view.

He first wagered $25,000 that he could drive to all 48 states in 14 months without once getting out of his car, a 1949 Kaiser Deluxe. After that quest failed in April 1950, Haynes’ tried soliciting pajama bottoms from state governors, supposedly for a quilt to be auctioned to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  That pipe dream evaporated, too.

On Feb. 18, 1949, a car-sealing ceremony in Ashland, Ore., had attracted 2,500 people, including Kaiser executives and Fox Movietone News.  As soon as the doors had been welded shut and windows barred with Haynes inside, a police escort accompanied the Kaiser out of town to begin the 48-state tour.

The Medford Mail Tribune reported in 2009 that Ashland historian George Kramer had obtained 60-year-old pictures that showed the car equipped with a typewriter, folding chair, and portable toilet. 

A painted sign on the side of the car featured a drawing of the United States and the words, “Don Haynes, The Marvel Man.”

Sources: Chick, David. "One Car, One Man, One Year: The Curious Tale Of Don Haynes." Rod Authority, Power Automedia, 1 Aug. 2014, www.rodauthority.com/news/one-car-one-man-one-year-curious-tale-don-haynes/. Accessed 21 July 2017; Varble, Bill. "Marveling at the legacy of Haynes." Mail Tribune, 15 Mar. 2009 [Medford, Ore.] , www.mailtribune.com/article/20090315/NEWS/903150337. Accessed 21 July 2017.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.