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[[image: right portion of illustration on previous page 53]] illustrated by considering a part of the country where geology seems eager to keep such differences alive. The difficulties and inconveniences of travel between Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, had, over the years, created a gap that grew to be more than a mileage factor. From the early 60's when Nevada became part of the Union, the northern and southern parts of the state were split into separate worlds, each with different interests. Reno and Carson City had always been allied culturally and economically to San Francisco, while Las Vegas' interests had tradionally been more closely tied to Los Angeles and Southern California. So little was known in the State Capital of Clark County (of which Las Vegas is the county seat) that a poll taken in 1946 showed only 20 per cent of the legislature had ever visited the southern city. It was about the time that Bonanza Airlines got going in the Silver state. It may not have been the intention of Bonanza to help break down rivalry between the two cities through understanding of each other's ideas and problems, but it has cerainly turned out that way. Bonanza'a first goodwill gesture was to fly the entire Nevada State Legislature while in session, to Las Vegas. Thereafter, a number of business men and civil groups were carried on goodwill exchange trips. These gestures paid off handsomely when the airline, worried over the limited passenger traffic, announced that it would have to curtail service between the two points. Immediately, leading business men in both cities offered to purchase stock in the company or to loan it money. The airline refused all such offers, stating merely: "All we need is traffic." Whereupon the Reno and Las Vegas Chambers of Commerce met in an unprecedented action, combining to inaugurate a $10,000 publicity and advertising campaign to stimulate air travel between the two cities. The affair between the two cities was further consummated in 1948, when Reno offered a surplus hangar to Las Vegas for no other cost than that attendant upon dismantling and transporting the hangar. The hangar was moved, piece by piece - a good 500 miles over desert highway - and re-erected at the airport at Las Vegas. It now serves as the base of all the operations of Bonanza - the airline that brought the two cities - the two parts of the country - together. In the wake of closer ties between previously unrelated sections of the country come people. With people come ideas. And with the exchange of ideas, provincialism vanishes. This is what is happening across the face of America. The thousands of eastern business men who make periodic sales trips to the small towns in the new industrial South or West take part of the East with them. And they return to the East with a bit of the South - of the West. Accounts of what they saw induce others - friends and family - to go see for themselves. Thus the sectional bond is strengthened. Local transportation and good trunk connections also enable the business men to go and come within the same day. And while it enables him to spend more time at home with his family, it is removing from the American scene – from Main Street - a most colorful item of American folklore: The Story of the Traveling Salesman. There are numerous other examples across the country testifying to the elimination of sectional barriers by local airlines. Take Natchez, Mississippi. Until the Civil War, Natchez was known has the "Gold Coast of the South." King Cotton had created a plantation royalty - King Cotton and the "paddle wheelers" that tied Natchez, via the Mississippi River, to her markets. The Civil War deposed cotton as king in Natchez as the capital of his kingdom. Natchez thereafter became a backwater in the mainstream of history. But there was to be an awakening. Natchez was Sleeping Beauty. Her prince was the airplane. Born by the waterway, Natchez was to be reborn by the airway. Today, Natchez is once again moving with the times. Each year thousands of tourists travel there to see the magnificent flowers, the fine ante-bellum houses, and to soak up the atmosphere and history of this once thriving center of plantation life. They travel there from all sections of the country - and they travel there by air. Since there is no passenger rail service to Natchez, the daily flights of Southern Airways are helping to make the spring "pilgrimage" to Natchez a box-office success. What does this mean? It means that the economy of Natchez is getting a real boost from the tourist trade. It means that Natchez serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas - the exchange of ideas between sections of the country that have not always seen eye to eye. And it means something that is too often overlooked in the habit of Main Street to convert to the latest gadget It means that many communities which have been outpaced by the course of progress are now being put back into the mainstream. In the case of Natchez, this is being done in terms of its own historical past. For years a barrier of seven mountains kept the port of Erie, Pennsylvania, from tapping the industrial and cultural heart of the state. Not only did this isolation keep Erie from growing, but the entire state of Pennsylvania was being denied the benefits of its only gateway to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River area. Erie was Page 5
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