A happy Monday morning to you! It looks like the weatherman is predicting a beautiful week ahead with temperatures rising into the high 70’s. But as they say, it is Alabama and who knows what the week will have to offer.
On one of my most recent “happy feet” road trips I took advantage of the expectation of great weather to head east to White, GA. and visit a “roadside attraction” I have read about for some time. It is an urban facility covering 34 acres that is home to over 4,500 retired vehicles. Mind you, as a note of reference, the population of White, GA. is estimated at around 675 people. Lewis World of Parts has been in the same family and same location since 1931 and is now aptly named Old Car City USA. Established early as an automobile junkyard, it is currently home to a photogenic collection of vintage American (and a few European) cars that were built no later than the 1970’s.
The current proprietor Lewis, Walter Dean (as his business card reads) took over the junkyard in 1970 from his father. Dean saw art where most just considered it junk. To use his words, he is not normal in that way! Through word of mouth and photography the once stagnant operation is flourishing with visitors coming from near and far. The “world’s largest” junkyard has tuned into an international destination for classic car lovers, photographers and artists. Dean is fast to greet you at the gate that is garnished with a wooden red button that instructs you to “push to open”. With no operational value at all, the hand written directions are a reflection of Deans’ wit. Dean then walks over to show you the area map and answer the one question that he must have to answer to each “newbie”, “Where are the best cars located and the best sites to visit?” He points to the map and directs you to hang a hard right once you depart the building. From there, “it is best of luck and try not to get lost cause we close at 4pm!”
Dean, who is a self-accomplished internationally recognized “Styrofoam Coffee Cup Art Doodler” speaks of the cars with the same adulation as a very proud papa when asked about his children. You could just imagine that, if you were to be toured by him, he would have a name for each and every one of the vehicles, all 4500. What makes this junkyard so appealing is the sheer volume of old vehicles and the current state of pine needle that blankets and engulfing the car frames, making their own natural car art. It is a photographers paradise that is, quite frankly, sensory overload!
When visiting, be sure to get there early, bring plenty of water and get prepared to spend the latter part of the day roaming the many rows of vehicles. Remember to take cash because they do not take credit cards. Dean admits to being technically challenged but something tells me that is just a “good ole boy with good financial sense” ploy!
Lastly, when the hunger urge strikes be sure to head across the street to WesMan’s restaurant, known for its vintage southern décor and exceptional food and hospitality. Tell them Lewis, Walter Dean sent you or as his friends refer to him, Dean!! ENJOY!
Keep us in mind for any of your upcoming photographic assignments as well as any and all of your stock and art needs. Have Camera – Will Travel … Corporate, Advertising and Editorial.
Best Regards …..!!!!!
~ dennis keim ~