Citation
The automobile in Denver

Material Information

Title:
The automobile in Denver 1895-1910
Creator:
Beaghler, Steven Llewellyn
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
v, 131 leaves : ; 29 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of History, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
History
Committee Chair:
Foster, Mark
Committee Co-Chair:
Noel, Thomas J.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Automobiles -- History -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Automobiles ( fast )
Colorado -- Denver ( fast )
Genre:
History. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
History ( fast )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 129-131).
Thesis:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Department of History
General Note:
Department of History and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Steven Llewellyn Beaghler.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
22700903 ( OCLC )
ocm22700903
Classification:
LD1190.L57 1989m .B42 ( lcc )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
THE AUTOMOBILE IN DENVER,1895-1910
by
Steven Llewellyn Beaghler
B.A., University of Colorado,1976
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of History
1989


This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by
Steven Llewellyn Beaghler
has been approved for the
Department of
History
by


Beaghler Steven Llewellyn (M.A., History)
The Automobile in Denver, 1895-1910
Thesis directed by Professor Mark S. Foster
This thesis looks at the automobile in Denver from its first
reported appearance through the year 1910. The automobile had an
impact on the city of Denver almost from the moment of its arrival.
Some of the significant aspects of the influence automob1ling had are
discussed here.
Beginning with a look at the development of the automobile,
including its European origins, the study continues with the arrival
of the machine in Denver. While not immediately a hit with the
citizens of the city, the automobile soon became a common sight on
Denver's streets.
The automobile dealers of Denver managed to convince the
populace that the horseless carriage was around to stay, and that it
was possible to own one. Automobile shows were one way to display the
machines to the public, and their influence is discussed here. The
dealers were soon joined by several local manufacturers in Denvers
automobile trade.
The horseless carriage forced some changes upon society.
Speeding automobiles became a danger to the public and laws were
enacted to control the menace. Women quickly took to the automobile,
a reporter in Denver claiming to be the first woman to operate an
automobile west of the Mississippi. Accidents occurred, often
resulting in injury to persons or property. The presence of more than
one automobile soon led to speed contests, and racing quickly became
a popular sport.


IV
Several trans-continental motor trips came through Denver prior
to 1910. Often sponsored by manufacturers, these trips were intended
to prove to the public that the automobile was a reliable form of
transportation. Other trips were simply that--trips across country by
private individuals. The Glidden tour also made a three day stop in
Denver on its 1909 reliability run.
The final pages attempt to put Denver's experience with the
automobile in a national context. Examining some other regions has
shown that the horseless carriage arrived and was in wide use in the
West. The southern states did not take up the automobile in
significant numbers until about 1909. The northeastern states, having
a wider industrial base, began manufacture and use of the automobiles
prior to 1895.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its
publication.
Signed
Professor Mark S. Foster


CONTENTS
V
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION...................................1
II. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND ITS
ARRIVAL IN AMERICA.......................... 5
III. THE AUTOMOBILE COMES TO DENVER................17
IV. AUTOMOBILE DEALERS........................... 25
V. DENVER^S AUTOMOBILE SHOWS.................... 51
VI. DENVERfS AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS............ 61
VII. THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW AND THE AUTOMOBILE. . 80
VIII. WOMEN MOTORISTS.............................. 89
IX. ACCIDENTS AND MISHAPS........................ 98
X. RACING...................................... 105
XI. THE GLIDDEN TOUR COMES TO DENVER.............114
XII. CONCLUSION...................................123
BIBLIOGRAPHY
129


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
The arrival of the automobile in the United States began a
revolution both in social mores and manufacturing processes. The
automobile would eventually allow Americans an unprecedented freedom
to move about their country. Making a better and cheaper car would
bring new theories of industrial practice. But, in the early years
of the new century, the automobile was an oddity, a rich man's toy.
Then the advantages of owning a horseless carriage came to light.
By 1900, stores began to realize that operating an automobile cost
less than maintaining horse-drawn delivery wagons, and the initial
cost was comparable to that of a good team. Deliveries were quicker,
and a delivery area could be expanded.1 Doctors also found that the
new machine had possibilities. While it could not find its way home,
an automobile could allow the doctor to reach his patients more
quickly. The machine was more patient as well. It would stand out
all night in the cold and not complain. t: might be a little hard to
O
get moving the next day, but old Dobbin could be just as difficult.
The small machines that first appeared on the streets of
America^ cities had a limited range. That was fine, because the
roads outside of town were seldom passable to the little cars. The
pressure from the bicycle clubs for improved roads also benefitted
the horseless carriage. Automobile proponents were quick to take up


2
distances and terrain required either the train or an extended
overland trip to get from one place to another.
The automobie overcame those barriers. A trip that took
days on horse could be shortened to hours in the horseless carriage.
The automobile also reduced dependence on railroad schedules. As it
matured, the automobile grew into a reliable beast of burden, asking
only fuel and lubrication for faithful service. In 1900, though,
there were those that questioned any value placed on the smelly,
noisy machine.
The automobile came to Denver soon after its introduction
in the United States. Floyd Clymer, in one of his popular Automobile
Scrapbooks showed a reprint from Horseless Age magazine describing an
electric car built by H. H. Carpenter of Denver in 1895.^
By 1899 the automobile had arrived in Denver to stay.
Local newspapers carried descriptions of these vehicles and the
reaction of the populace. E. J. Cabler had a large motorized utility
wagon built for use in his business. David Brunton, A Denver mining
engineer, had a Columbia Electric shipped to him from the factory.
Brunton assembled the car and drove it about town for a number of
years. The automobile became a part of the annual bicycle show held
at Coliseum Hall that year.
Even though the automobile was now operating on the streets
of Denver, its popularity remained in question. It took one dealer
two years to sell eight cars. Eventually, those that could afford to
purchase a motor car formed a fraternity, and worked towards gaining
acceptance for the automobile.


3
The following pages will explore the automobile's first
years in the city of Denver. Beginning with a brief look at the
development of the modern automobile in Europe, this study will
examine several facets of automobiling in Denver. This will include
the dealers and manufacturers. Legislation to control the wild
operation of the machine on the city's streets, as well as the
operators themselves p will also be discussed.


NOTES--CHAPTER #1
4
1. James J. Flink, America Adopts the Automobile. 1895-1910.
(Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press,1970), 88. The Daniels and Fisher
store in Denver began to use automobile delivery in March of 1899.
2. Michael L. Berger, The Devil Wagon in God*s Country. The
Automobile and Social Change in Rural America.1893-1929. (Hamden:
Archon Books,1979)176,
3. Floyd Clymer, Automobile Scrapbook. Vol.3 (Los Angeles; Clymer
Motors,1952)f 36.


5
CHAPTER TWO
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AUTOMOBILE, AND ITS
ARRIVAL IN AMERICA
The concept of a self-propelled vehicle is not a new one.
In the thirteenth century, Roger Bacon speculated that 11 cars can be
made so that without animals they will move with unbelievable
rapidity", but did not pursue the idea because of motive power
problems. Leonardo DaVinci toyed with the idea three hundred years
later, drawing something like the modern military tank, but a
suitable power source was still lacking, and he put the plans aside)
The first real advance toward development of a practical
horseless vehicle came in 1769, when French army officer Nicholas
Cugnot built a three wheeled carriage powered by steam. Cugnot;s
plan was to use the device for pulling artillery. While the carriage,
did work, it did not work well. In trials, the machine proved hard
to steer, and the contraption left the road on a curve at a speed of
three miles per hour
The idea again died out for a while, then was reborn in
England in 1828 with the development of steam powered omnibuses.
These busses met with some commercial success. They maintained
schedules and ran regular routes and had a reputation for safety.
This success brought about their demise. Stage and railway companies
feared the competition and successfully lobbied for discriminatory
legislation limiting the speed of these "free carriages" and


requiring a man to walk in front of the machine carrying a red flag.
These laws were not repealed until 1896 and served to restrict
development of the automobile in England until then.^
For most of the nineteenth century, man had to be content
wich his faithful companion, the horse, or his own feet to get from
one place to another. The development of the railroad helped conquer
long distances, but did not adequately solve the problem of intro-
urban transportation. Street railways and interurban transit began
to appear in some larger cities, but one still had to get to and from
the stops.
The first solution came in 1885 with the introduction of
the nsafety11 bicycle. The invention of James Kemp Starley, this was
a bicycle with a chain drive to the rear wheel that allowed for a
reduction of the size of the wheels.^ As direct drive was
eliminated, the front wheel could be reduced in size without
sacrificing speed. As a result, women and small children could mount
a bicycle and ride with relative ease. Because of this, bicycle
riding became popular for both transportation and recreation, and
those with bicycles began to demand better roads.^
In the United States, pressure from the League of American
Wheelmen resulted in the improvement of many state and local roads.
In 1893, Congress appropriated ten thousand dollars to the Department
of Agriculture for a Bureau of Road Inquiry. This bureau was to
study and provide information on highway construction. This
department later became the Bureau of Public Roads.^


7
The development and growth of the bicycle supplied a
necessary boost to the infant automobile industry. The bicycle
supplied technology necessary for the production of a marketable
motor car. Tubular framing, ball and roller bearings chain drive,
and differential gearing were all used first in the construction of
bicycles and later adapted to the automobile. The pneumatic tire,
developed in Ireland by John Br Dunlop for the bicycle was used
extensively in automobile production without any change in its
design
Many of the first automobile manufacturers previously built
bicycles. These included: Morris in England; Opel in Germany; and
Pope, Winton, and Willys in the United States. One reason for this
is the bicycle manufacturers were already prepared for manufacturing,
Q
and had a ready supply of the necessary materials.
The solution to the problem of a powerplant for a horseless
vehicle came closer to reality in .1860, when Etienne Lenoir patented
an internal combustion engine in France. This engine did not work
too well, but it worked well enough for use with pumps and in machine
shops. Lenoir worked to improve his engine, and in 1862 put one in a
vehicle. He then attempted to drive it from Paris to Joinville-le-
Pont, a village about seven miles away. The round trip took about
Q
three hours, and Lenoir never repeated the trip.
The first modern automobile was built in Austria in 1875.
It was the invention of Siegfried Marcus, an engineer of wide renown.
Marcus9 vehicle incuded electric ignition, a carburetor, intake and
exhaust valves, and water cooling. Marcus evidently drove this wagon


8
about Vienna for some time, but eventually abandoned the idea because
he could see no financial gain and possibly legal problems in the use
of his invention.
Shortly after Marcus drove about Vienna, Gottlieb Daimler,
in Germany, improved on the earlier Otto four cycle engine, reducing
the size and eight and increasing engine R.P.M. capacity. Daimler
mounted this engine on a bicycle, and later in a boat. Both
applications worked, and Daimler patented his motorcycle.U Between
1885 and 1889, Daimler and his assistant William Maybach built four
experimental four wheeled vehicles with a 11/2 horsepower,110 pound
engine that produced six hundred R.P.M.
In 1890, the French firm of Panhard and Levassor obtained
the manufacturing rights to the Daimler motor. The firm decided to
build entire automobiles instead of just the engines. Panhard and
Levassor changed the accepted design of the wagon, and located the
engine in front of the passengers instead of under the seat. It was
found that this would allow for the use of a larger engine. In 1895,
Panhard and Levassor used a four horsepower engine of Daimler design
to drive a car from Paris to Bordeaux and back at an average speed of
*1 Q
fifteen miles per hour. The age of the automobile had begun. J
About the same time, several inventors in the United States
were experimenting with the horseless carriage. Ransom E. Olds was
building steam powered vehicles in his Lansing, Michigan shops
between 1887 and 1891. In 1893, Olds sold one of his cars to the
London firm of Francis-Times for use in Bombay, India. The sales
price was four hundred dollars.In 1893 Charles and Frank Duryea


built a vehicle after reading in Scientific American about a car
built by Karl Benz. Elwood P. Haynes, with Edgar and Elmer Apperson,
and their assistant Jonathan Maxwell built a similar machine in
Kokomo, Indiana in 1894.15
A small demand for motor cars developed, and several
experimenters incorporated to meet that demand. The Duryea brothers
founded the Duryea Motor Company in the fall of 1895, and delivered
their first vehicle in February, 1896. They built twelve more
machines that year. Alexander Winton, already a bicycle
manufacturer, incorporated the Winton Motor Carriage Company in 1897.
Winton originally planned to produce motor busses, but after
delivering six busses, the threat of law suits caused Winton to
switch to production of private vehicles. The following year, the
Haynes-Apperson Company was incorporated,
The fledgling automobile industry was about to become
embroiled in the first of many legal battles it would face. In 1879,
a patent attorney named George Selden applied for a patent on the
gasoline powered motor vehicle. Selden kept updating his patent
application to include new developments in the industry.
Modifications were made to the original application to include the
Otto and Daimier type engines in the patent. n 1895, Selden
finally accepted patent number 599,160 on the motor carriage. At
this time, Selden had not produced a working model of his design, but
believed that he was entitled to the patent for combining various
devices into a motor car.


10
Selden had a patent, but could not afford to prosecute
those he felt were infringing on it. Then, in 1899, a group of
investors combined the Electric Storage Battery Company, the Electric
Boat Company, and the motor carriage division of Pope Manufacturing
Company into the Electric Vehicle Company.During research for
incorporation,lawyers for the new company came across the Selden
patent. Although they were not planning to produce gasoline powered
vehicles,lawyers recommended paying Selden 10,000 dollars for a
license. Upon further investigation Electric Vehicle Company
decided to team up with Selden and collect a royalty on all the motor
90
cars being produced.
The first targets were small companies that did not have
the funds to fight the patent in court. Selden and electric Vehicle
offered favorable terms to these companies, and many accepted. Armed
with proof that the patent was valid, Selden now took on the Winton
Motor Carriage Company. After reviewing the case, and amassing 1400
pages of documentation, Winton^s lawyers advised settlement if Selden
were reasonable. Selden was generous and proposed that no fees were
to be charged for vehicles made before the settlement. As part of
the agreement, an association was established to share in the
royalties collected under the patent^ This association would
oversee licensing and collection and distribution of royalties. The
Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers was formed, and was
allowed to collect two-fifths of the royalties. Selden received one-
O o
fifth, and Electric Vehicle collected the remaining two-fifths


11
In 1903, Henry Ford explored the possibility of joining the
A.L.A*M. Ford was told that as he was simply an assembler of
automobiles, and because of his record in the business, he would not
be accepted. This annoyed Ford, and he decided to fight the A.L.A.M.
and Selden. He founded the American Motor Car Manufacturers
Association (A.M.C.M.A.) in order to press the fight. He was joined
by Reo (R. G. Olds), Briscoe and others. The French Firm of Panhard-
Levassor also joined to help in the legal proceedings. The members
posted bonds to release purchasers of their products from liability
O
if the case was decided against them.
Eight years later, the final appeals court held that the
patent was valid, but had not been infringed. The court ruled that
Selden^s patent only covered vehicles built with the Brayton type two
cycle engine. As all gasoline powered vehicles in the United States
were built with an Otto type four cycle engine, they were not
included under the patent. Because of the decision, Henry Ford
became known as the champion of the common man against big business,
although Ford himself was a prime example of "big business."^"
As the automobile became a common sight on city streets,
more and more people felt the desire to own one. Among the first to
own an automobile in a community was the local doctor. The doctor
quickly found that the auto offered him many advantages over the
horse. In theory, the auto would start easily and be ready at a
moments notice, but cold weather certainly slowed this process
somewhat. However, the automobile definitely aided the doctor in


12
making his rounds, and allowed him to arrive less fatigued and in
less time.
While doctors and merchants could justify owning a vehicle
as a necessary part of their business, others wished to own an
automobile for the social prestige it gave them. Woodrow Wilson is
reputed to have announced that the automobile was an ostentatious
display of wealth, and would lead to socialism by inciting envy of
the rich6 This need for social status was often displayed in the
purchase of bigger and more prestigious cars, rather than simply
transportation. The cost for this status was often borne by a second
mortgage on the family home. Because of this borrowing, a number of
homes were lost to foreclosure.
Those people fortunate enough to own an automobile found
that they could go on outings in the country with relative ease.
Mishaps happened, but the threat seldom discouraged motorists from
these adventures. Breakdowns, mud holes, and rlat tires were common
occurrences. It was easy to incur the wrath of the rural dwellers by
running over livestock, and the motorist was always at fault in such
cases. Tourists also were known to stop and picnic on private land,
and poaching of fruit and vegetables often occurred. This led to
animosity between fanners and automob111sts, and often resulted in

restrictive legislation against the automobie
Rural communities enacted laws that called for motorists to
fire Roman candles when they sighted a horse. The operator could
also be required to telephone ahead to the next town to give warning
of his approach. Legally, the horse had precedence over the. auto,


13
and the motorist had to stop his vehicle if a horse appeared to be
frightened.
There was much less resistance to the automobile in the
cities. Enthusiasts claimed that the cost of keeping a horse in the
city was about twice the cost of an automobile, or about one dollar
per day. The initial cost of an automobile was about the same as
that of a good carriage; or about one thousand dollars. The taxpayer
saw an additional savings in reduced cost for collecting horse manure
O A
from the streets. This manure contributed to two thirds of the
refuse on city streets, and the resulting dust was thought to cause
diarrhea in children. The automobile^s rubber tires were quieter
than the clatter of iron wheels and horseshoes, and replacing the
0 1
horse and wagon with the automobile would result in quieter cities.
As the automobile became more and more popular, motor clubs
began to appear. The first was the American Motor League, founded
November 1,1895, by an association of manufacturers. Four years
later, on June 7,1899, the Auto Club of America was founded in New
York Cityu Later, in 1902, the American Automobile Association
(A.A.A.) was founded. A.A.A. was an association of local clubs, and
founded by the Auto Club of America, the Long Island Auto Club,
Philadelphia Auto Club, Rhode Island Auto Club, and the Chicago Auto
Club. Other clubs entered into the association, and eventually, the
requirement of membership in a local club for membership in the
A.A.A. was dropped. J
These organizations began to favor licensing laws and
legislation restricting municipalities1 ability to arbitrarily enact


14
speed laws. Some of these state-level laws took the form of calling
for large signs stating the speed limit at each change of speed,
others forbade local municipalities from setting speed limits.*"
Municipalities began to regulate use of the automobile
shortly after its appearance on their streets. Chicago required
operators to be licensed in 1900. To get a license, one had to prove
knowledge of the rules of the road and the responsibilities of
operating an automobile. The applicant also had to prove that he was
O c
in good health, past driving history was reviewed upon renewal.J
The horseless carriage reached the western United States
somewhat later than in the East. Only if someone ventured east could
he view this new marvel. By 1895, a few hardy souls in the West were
experimenting with building experimental automobiles. Although not
terribly impressive, these initial attempts encouraged others with
the potential for the automobile. As Eastern production increased, a
few of the contraptions made their way into the hands of Western
enthusiasts, and the automobile reached Denver.


NOTES--CHAPTER #2
15
1. John B. Rae, The American Automobile. (Chicago, University of
Chicago Press, 1965), 2.
2. Ibid.
3- Frank Ernest Hill, The Automobile. How It Came. Grew, and Changed
Our Lives (New York, Dodd, Mead and Company,1967), 5.
4. John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life. (Cambridge,
Mass.: The MIT Press, 1971),28.
5. Rae, The American Automobile. 5.
6. Hill,21.
7 Raer The American Automobile, 6
8. Ibid.
9. Hill, 6-8.
10. Ibid., 9.
11.Ibid.,11.
12. James J. FIink, America Adopts the Automobile. 1895-1910.
(Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1970),12.
13. Ibid.,13.
14. Ibid.,17.
15. Ibid.,19.
16- Ibid., 25.
17- Rae, The American Automobile. 34.
18. Ibid,
19. Ibid.
20. Hill,42.
21. Hill, 42-43.
22. Rae, The American Automobile, io.
23. Ibid., 37.


24. Ibid., 38
16
25. Michael L. Berger, The Devil Wagon in God^s Country. The
Automobile and Social Change in Rural America.1893-1929. (Hamden:
Archon Books,1979),176.
26. Rae, The American Automobile. 29.
27. Flink, 103.
28. Berger, 22-24.
29. Ibid., 25,
30. Flink, 88.
31.Ibid., 105-106.
32. Ibid., 145.
33. Ibid., 156.
34. Berger, 28.
35. Ibid., 174.
CHAPTER THREE


1
THE AUTOMOBILE COMES TO DENVER
Denver *s love affair with the automobile began almost with
the birth of the beast. While the average nineteenth-century
Denverite relied on horse and buggy, bicycle, or their feet to get
about, an adventuresome few had begun to experiment with a strange
new device. Initially, these people were dismissed as crackpots, or
possibly dangerous. Later, as the number of automobiles increased,
these people began to be taken seriously.
The fortunes of the city of Denver have always been
dependent upon some form of transportation. Eary settlers in the
Cherry Creek area arrived with their possessions in wagons drawn by
horses or oxen. Later, when the transcontinental railroad bypassed
Denver in favor of an easier route through Wyoming, the residents of
the city banded together to build a connection to Cheyenne so that
the city could have access to the markets of the coasts. As the city
grew, interurban transportation became an important feature in the
city. "Streetcar suburbs'* grew up along the streetcar lines, and the
citizens were able to live in nice residential areas outside the
crowded city center. As Denver was growing the European invention
known as the automobile was being perfected by ingenious Americans.
A short time later, it appeared in Denver. While it was not
immediately evident, this new invention was to change the way of life
in Denver forever. The automobile had come to town to stay.


18
When the Denver Times, on February 19,1899, invited the
"curious, good people of the city" to visit the bicycle show at
Coliseum Hall to view the four wheeled wonder known as the
automobile, few Denverites had seen one. One or two had been bold,
or fool-hardy enough to consider obtaining a "horseless wonder,1' but
prior to the show, no automobile had threatened the horses of Denver,
The Times went on to predict "the probable finish of the prince of
animals, the horse." The automobile had made its debut in Denver,
and while not an immediately success, it was "already the coining fad"
wirh a certain segment of the population.
The "horseless wonders" were representative makes from the
Electric Vehicle Company. They were demonstrated by A. H. Gilbert,
the secretary of that company, assisted by three "expert
electricians." Mr. Gilbert brought with him a delivery wagon and a
runabout model. The type of the third machine is not recorded. The
vehicles would travel at speeds between two and twelve miles per
hour. All could travel about thirty five miles on a charge, at a
cost of about one cent per mile. The vehicles also were equipped
with electric lights for operation after dark. Mr. Gilbert was
available to demonstrate the vehicles on the streets of Denver during
the show.1
Shortly after the heralded arrival of the automobile at the
1899 bicycle show, the contraption began to show up on the streets of
Denver. The Daniels and Fisher department store was reported to be
using ,ran automobile delivery wagon" on March 1,1899. Someone at
Daniels and Fisher saw the possibilities of a horseless vehicle in


19
making deliveries, and probably purchased the delivery wagon shown
the week before.
David W. Brunton, a local mining engineer, had a Columbia
electric shipped to him from the factory. The order was placed
October 15,1898, and was delivered May 2,1899.^ Upon returning
from a business trip May 9,1899, Brunton found the automobile
waiting. He then "spent the day setting it up." The next day,
Brunton "ran (the) electric carriage on streets of Denver." Brunton
is also reputed to have constructed the first private garage in the
city at his residence, 865 Grant St.^
Some people decided not to wait for the eastern factories
to ship automobiles to Denver. Instead, they obtained plans and
built their own machines. In 1895, Horseless Age magazine showed a
vehicle built by H.H. Carpenter of Denver. It was an electric
vehicle of unusually light and pleasing construction.11 The front
wheels were from a bicycle, and the steering was by tiller. The
Carpenter electric was powered by storage batteries of Carpenter's
own invention. ^
Among other home-made horseless carriages on the streets of
Denver was a contraption built by Daniel Spencer. Mr. Spencer ran a
bicycle repair shop at 2246 Welton, where he probably built the
machine in his spare time. No description remains of this machine,
but as it was built in a bicycle shop, the vehicle probably had
bicycle wheels and pneumatic tires. The body was likely similar to
other horseless vehicles of the time and resembled a surrey-type
wagon. However, this is only conjecture.^


20
The popularity of the automobile grew quickly. Part of
this popularity has been attributed to the scenic beauty of the
state. This, coupled with the easy accessibility to the tourist
spots from Denver, made the automobile popular with the tourists as
early as 1902.7 Estimates put the number of autos in the state in
1900 at 90. Five years later, there were 800, and by 1910, more than
4,600 cars operating in Colorado. Of this number, a great part were
owned and operated in Denver. The Denver Republican estimated the
sum total of motor vehicles in Denver in 1908 to be 3,340, with the
number growing to over 4,000 in 1909 Denver Municipal Facts was a
bit more conservative in its estimates for 1909. By the June 26,
1909 issue, the count was put at 3,000, with another 600 motorcycles
reported. The Denver Republican, in its January 1,1911 issue
reported that an additional1140 autos had been registered in the
city in 1910. This brought the total to 5,220.
Several reasons were given for this enormous growth. These
included the work of the Good Roads Movement, increasing prosperity
in the state, and the favorable climate. The Denver Motor Club and
similar clubs in surrounding communities were also given credit for
the rise in the ownership of automobiles. The various clubs were
applauded for their work in erecting road signs to aid tourists.
It was estimated that by the end of 1910, at least fifteen hundred
workers were employed in businesses related to the automobile in
Denver. There were 101 businesses involved in some way with the
automobile, including dealers, supply stores, repair stations, and
rental establishments.^


21
In a voter registration drive in 1901,Denver1s Republican
Party took advantage of the novelty of the automobile to increase its
numbers. While several carriages had been allotted to this task, it
was found that they could not adequately handle the load. Judge
Allen, a party official, and the candidate for justice of the peace,
T. E. McClelland, hired an automobile to shuttle people to the
registration point. Speed prompted the use of the auto. Two or
three trips could be made in the automobile in the time it took to do
one round trip in a buggy.
Auditor D. A. Barton held the belief that:
the automobile has been a great political success. We have
taken people from Montclair and Harmon to 752 Broadway to
register. Do you suppose we ever could have induced them
to go there a year ago? They would have said it was too
far. But a ride in an automobile is a different
proposition. It doesnft seem half far enough to people who
have never ridden before. All kinds of people are partial
to the auto. When we call, they are very much pleased to
accept. In fact, I attribute our success in the district
to the automobile.
The success of the registration drive in district "M" made
politicians wonder how they had managed to do without it in the past.
The Republicans of the district claimed the idea for their own, but
encouraged party members of other districts to try the idea.^
The growing numbers of automobiles inevitably led to
"borrowing" machines from their owners. The first automobile
reported stolen in Denver was taken the week of September 10,1903.
Someone took a red four-cylinder Franklin car from M. J. Patterson of
West Denver. The car was reported stolen from in front of the Boston
Building between the hours of eight and ten P.M. during a meeting of
the Denver Automobile Club. The vehicle could be identified by the


22
manufacturers number, 106, found in small numbers on the
identification plate on the back of the machine. The car also
carried Denver registration number 8 in large numerals on a piece of
leather suspended from the rear axle.
Mr. Patterson offered a reward of fifty dollars for the
recovery of his car, and $150 for information leading to the
conviction of the thief. Anyone with information was asked to
contact Mr. Patterson at his expense. Police theorized that the
automobile had been taken out of state, but were "doing everything in
(their) power to capture the thief"
The car was one of four like it in the state. Of the
others, number 95, owned by the Felker Cycle Co. and one owned by
Senator Edward 0. Wolcott, were known not to be in use. The
remaining vehicle was number 10/, owned by Dr. Cochem of Salida.
Citizens were requested to report sightings of an auto of this type
outside Salida, as it probably was the stolen vehicle.
By September 12 the Franklin, which "has been touring
about the state in the hands of someone not its owner," was
recovered. Washington County Sheriff George W. Ball cabled Patterson
from Akron: "Have your automobile. Man gone away. Pay reward and
take machine." Patterson dispatched Morris Hardesty and Karl
Burghardt to Akron to examine the machine and determine if it could
be driven back to Denver.
Patterson stated that the reward would be paid for the
recovery of the automobile, but "I have not heard anything concerning
its condition, but I presume it has not been very carerully used...it


23
must be in bad shape." The car must have been in fairly good shape,
as Patterson ran the car at Overland Park later that month.
Between 1899 and 1903, the automobile had grown from an
oddity on the streets of Denver to a common item that could be stolen
with relative impunity. The number of "horseless carriages" on
Denverfs streets had reached the point that citizens began to demand
laws to control the use of the contraption. While still something of
a novelty, the machines were already being perceived as a potential
danger to society.
Danger aside, Denverites had enough desire to own an
automobile that several entrepreneurs went into the business of
catering to that desire. Men, women, and even children were not
immune to the "auto-mania" sweeping Denver. Those owning automobiles
used them for business, pleasure, and sporting events. Some even
drove cross-country, without any road. As time went on, those
without motor cars felt the need to own one, and often went deeply
into debt to satisfy that need.


NOTES--CHAPTER #3
24
1. Denver Republican. February 19,1899.
2. Denver Times. March 1,1899.
3. Motor Field. April,1908,16.
4. David W. Brunton, "Diary," Colorado Historical Society.
5. Some doubt remains as to the actual existence of this vehicle in
Denver, H. H. Carpenter is not listed in the city directories of the
period, and no mention of such an unusual device has been found in
Denver9s newspapers. Part of the problem in tracing Carpenter, and
others, is the fact that they are sometimes referred to in print only
by their initials. Where possible, a complete first name will be
provided throughout this text.
6. Denver Times. March 19,1900.
7. James J. FIink, America Adopts the Automobile. 1895-1910.
(Cambridge, Mass." The MIT Press,1970), 80.
8. Ibid.,15.
9 Denver Republican. January 1,1910.
10. Ibid.
11.Ibid.( January 1,1911.
12. Denver Times. October 16,1901.
13. Ibid.October 20,1901.
14. Ibid., October 16,1901.
15. Ibid., September 10,1903_
16. Ibid.
17. Denver Republican. September 131903.


25
CHAPTER FOUR
AUTOMOBILE DEALERS
Enterprising Denver businessmen soon saw the commercial
possibilities of the automobile. G. Albert Wahlgreen and C. 0. Rhodes
secured delivery of a load of Locomobiles.1 Locomobile placed an
advertisement in Cycling West magazine April121900, announcing
that its product could be seen at the establishment of Enos T.
Weiant,local representative for several safe manufacturers. Weiant
also did vault work and sold bicycles from his shop in the Kitteridge
Building.
He did not keep the Locomobile distributorship long. The
May 24,1900 issue of Cycling West stated that the.Felker Cycle
Company, owned by William b. Felker, Jr., had obtained the agency to
sell the Locomobile from his bicycle shop on Stout Street. The eight
cars arrived in one boxcar in April, 1900. Dr. G. B. Stone, a local
dentist, is rumored to have become the first person in the city to
purchase an automobile from a local dealer. Dr. Stone paid $850 cash
for the privilege
It took Felker two years to dispose of the other seven
vehicles. The last two were supposedly rafrled by two competing
grocery firms. One allegedly went to Grocer E. E. Rost, who sold the
winning ticket, but Hurlbut^s grocery claimed in an advertisement


26
that they were exclusive distributors of tickets. A ticket was given
for each 25 cents9 purchase.^
There is some confusion as to who won the other car, but
Miss Julia Campbell ended up with the machine, and became a familiar
sight on the streets of Denver. It is possible that the Campbell
family won the car, as Julia Campbell reported that her father wanted
to give it to a local minister, but she wouldn't let him. Other
sources say that a poor widow won the car, and later sold it for
$600. Miss Campbell soon developed a reputation as a mechanic, and
was known to be able to repair any malfunction of the contraption.^
Despite the slow start, other bicycle dealers soon joined
Felker in selling automobiles along with their bicycles. Ernest R.
Cumbe, handling the Jeffery line of bicycles since 1896, began to
sell the Rambler when the Jeffery Manufacturing Company began
production in 1900. Cumbe was responsible for bringing the first
Rambler to Denver.6
George Hannan, in the bicycle and sporting goods business
for more than twenty years, took the agency for the Oldsmobile as
well as the new Racycle bicycle in 1901. Hannan was going to "push
the sales of the 1Oldsmobile* in this city" with all the enthusiasm
he previously spent on the bicycle
Hannan sold Oldsmobiles to Lawrence Phipps, Sr., and Dean
Martyn Hart, among other prominent Denverites. The unreliability of
the early automobile created problems for the dealer, especially when
the customer had to walk back to town following a breakdown. Phipps


27
later traded his Olds for a more reliable Autocar, and later a
Mercedes Other customers
at all too frequent intervals... gathered back at the Hannan
establishment to heap ire on the head of defenseless
George, accompanied with charges of false representation
and all the crimes in the calendar. Mr. Hannan had to
explain that they all stopped now and then, that he had
walked home many a time himself, leaving his car stranded
in the country.
Breakdowns were not the sole property of the Oldsmobile,
however. The newness of the technology made it difficult to keep the
automobile in adjustment. "Styles and models were constantly
changing, carburetors never seemed to reach adjustment, spark plugs
continually fouled," and parts were hard to come by.
Another bicycle dealer who took on automobiles as a
sideline was Tom Botterill. Botterill was the local representative
of the George N. Pierce Company. Pierce produced a popular line of
bicycles, and Botterill had become associated with the company by
1900. Prior to his involvement with the Pierce company, Botterill
had sold bicycles for the Indiana Bicycle Company.
When Pierce began manufacturing automobiles in 1901,his
representative undoubtedly took up the new product as demand
warranted. Botterill did not advertise that he sold automobiles
until early 1905, but if one was interested in obtaining a Pierce
automobile in Denver, his shop at 1643 California Street was the
place to find one.
Problems aside, the automobile was proving to be a pular
toy for the citizens of Denver. By 1902, Felker and Hannan were
joined by G. W. McClintock selling the Gasmobile at his establishment


28
at 1545 Wazee Street, and the Mobile Company of America, owned by
John Brisbane Walker> on Glenarm.U Ernest R. Cumbe sold Toledo
steamers and the Rambler from his bicycle shop at 1721 Stout Street,
and the Winton line was represented by Webb Jay down the block at
1761 Stout.
Sales had improved so much by 1904 that William Felker
decided to move from his small storefront at 1764 Stout to larger
accommodations built at 1535 Tremont. The new building featured
storage and livery service, as well as a first class bicycle repair
shop to accommodate the increased bicycle trade. All classes of
automobiles would be cared for, not just the ones Felker sold.
George Hannan sold thirty Oldsmobiles in December,1901 and
January, 1902. He planned to expand to Colorado Springs, Pueblo,
Boulder, and Ouray to meet the demand for the Olds. Hannan also went
19
into the storage and livery business. ^
The Mobile Company was unable to keep up with the sales
made by the local manager, James Hervey Nichols, Jr. Several car
loads were expected to fill orders made by William H. Kistler, G.
Albert Wahlgreen, and Alvin B. Daniels, among others. Ernest Cumbe
was expecting a delivery of steam vehicles made by the American
Bicycle Company "for which he now holds orders." Cumbe was
optimistic that the automobile would continue to be popular in
Denver, "where the roads, climate, and conditions are always
favorable to their use."13
The Chicago automobile show in February,1902 attracted
several of the Denver dealers. George Hannan acquired one hundred


29
Oldsmobiles, a car load of Knoxmobiles and some National electrics.
On his way home, Hannan purchased a touring model built by the St.
Louis Motor Carriage Co. Altus T. Wilson purchased a variety of cars
to re-sell in Denver. He made deals to sell Darling, Remington,
Friedman, Waverly electric cars and the complete line of Motor
Vehicle and Truck Company.
Ernest R. Cumbe arranged to continue in the Rambler and
Toledo lines, and picked up the Auto-Bi, a motorcycle made by the
E. R. Thomas Motor Company. Cumbe stated that every Rambler would be
supplied with a "complete touring outfit," including "one of the
latest French pattern auto-horns, a Veeder odometer, and a pair of
large and handsome carriage lamps, all without additional charge
Webb Jay made arrangements for a number of the new line of two
cylinder Wintons to be shipped to him. He also attempted to acquire
the touring model Winton at the show, having already sold it to Ned
Hurlbut of Denver.
Jay also arranged for the Columbia Electric ambulance that
transported President McKinley after he was assassinated in Buffalo
to be displayed at his showroom in Denver. In addition, he obtained
a complete line of Columbia and Riker Electrics to sell along with
the Winton. Jay was reported to be receiving $200 $400 premiums
for fifteen day or less delivery.
One way to sell cars was to compare them to the competing
makes. J. Hervey Nichols, when trying to sell a Mobile to a
prospective purchaser, would run over to the Felker Company and stand
his Mobile next to a Locomobile. He would then point out the


30
differences and the merits of his product versus the competition.
Felker was allowed the same consideration at the Mobile salesroom.
Shortly after the Chicago automobile show, a similar show
was arranged under the auspices of G. Albert Wahlgreen and Motor
Field, with the cooperation of the local dealers. Held in Coliseum
Hall at 18th and.Champa Streets on May 12-17, 1902, the show featured
many of the makes shown in Chicago. In addition to the automobiles,
displays of tires, lights, and other sundries would be on view.^^
The remainder of 1902 and 1903 were quiet for the
automobile industry in Denver. One addition was made to the list of
dealers in the 1903 Denver Business directory, the Colorado
Automobile Company. Located at 1510 Court Place, the company had an
ideal location in a large brick building across from courthouse
square. Colorado Automobile Company dealt in Cadillac, Pope-Toledo
and Baker Electric. Officers of the company included G. W. Wood,
president; Alvin B. Daniels, vice-president, and Robert R. "Bert"
Hall as secretary. M. Lewis Lindahl served as manager and "Bert"
Hall worked as salesman in addition to his duties as secretary.
Lindahl later became associated with the Western Motor Car Company in
Los Angeles.17
The stunmer of 1904 was a good one for the Denver dealers.
Sales were "made as fast as cars have been received, the only
complaint being that some of the dealers were unable to secure cars
at the time they were promised." the Colorado Automobile Company
sent John Carlson, one of their agents, on a trip through western and
southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in a Cadillac for the


31
"purpose of selling cars of that make." President George Wood
reported that Carlson was successful in his endeavor, and several
sales were made.
Ernest R. Cumbe sold a Rambler car to the Weiner Wine
Company, one of a string of sales made. The Rambler agency "has made
an excellent record again this year." Oldsmobile, sold by George
Hannan, was the favored make for at least twenty people "in Denver
and neighborhood this season," according to Linn Mathewson, Hannans
sales manager. Colorado Motor Carriage Company, "which has the White
agency, has recently sold cars to David H. Moffat and Ernest A.
Colburn, two of Colorado's wealthiest men." The company was
experiencing some success selling Grout cars as well.
In July or August 1904, Linn Mathewson, long time manager
for George Hannan, decided to strike out on his own. Mathewson
secured the agency for the Queen automobile and set up shop at
1420-22 Court Place. Mathewson was president, and Fred W. Bailey was
secretary and treasurer. The Queen was a small; one cylinder
automobile made by the Blomstrom Motor Company in Detroit, but it was
a popular make in Denver. Mathewson reported several sales in his
first weeks in business, including a sale to Dr. L. E. Lemen of the
Denver School Board
In January of the next year, Mathewson picked up the Denver
agency for Reo and Thomas. Shortly thereafter, he showed the first
of the 1905 Thomas line to be shown in Denver. Made by the E. R.
Thomas Motor Company of Buffalo, New York, the car was a big 40
horsepower car available in a number of different body styles. Soon


32
after picking up Reo and Thomas, Mathewson began to sell the Moline.
Moline cars were 11 just simple, substantial and durable cars, built to
give satisfaction."
At about the same time, the Colburn family was organizing
the Antlers Automobile Company at 15th and West Colfax. The Colburns
had been involved in the beginnings of the automobile sales industry
in Colorado Springs, and had moved to Denver to pursue the business
in the big city. Ernest A. Colburn had come to Denver in 1902, and
had embraced the mining industry. Ernest Colburn was later listed in
the Denver Business Directory as a- lawyer.
When the family opened the motor car business, Ernest
Colburn became the secretary of the company. His brother Herbert was
listed as president. Later listings in the business directory show
E. A. Colburn as manager and Herbert C. Colburn as salesman. The
Colburns also managed to lure Edward W. Swanbrough to their company
from E. R. Cumbe to help sell the company's line of Ford and Royal
0*1
Tourist cars. -1-
Over on Tremont Street, business was good for the Felker
Automobile Company. Felker, now selling Peerless, Winton, and
Autocar, purchased two lots next to his store. On the back part of
these lots was located a roller skating rink that Felker was already
occupying. By removing a wall, Felker was able to increase his floor
n p
space to an area totaling 175 by 50 feet. ^
Sales were brisk through the last part of the summer.
Dr. F. L. Bartlett, president of the Colorado Automobile Club,
purchased a four cylinder Moline from the Mathewson Automobile


33
Company. George Snyder purchased a similar vehicle the month before.
i Mathewson was expecting his first shipment of 1906 Reo motor cars
about September 20.
Mathewson made the news when he reduced the time to drive
to Boulder from Denver, a distance of thirty-one miles. He did it in
fifty-nine minutes on an errand of mercy. The daughter of C. W. Knox
of Boulder was gravely ill, and Mr. Knox was in Denver. Mathewson
took a Reo car and delivered Mr. Knox to his daughters bedside
without accident.
The Felker Automobile Company enjoyed a double sale when
Eben Smith, a Colorado mining millionaire, came to their showroom.
Smith, who "spends much of his time on the Pacific coast," purchased
two Stevens-Duryea machines One was intended for use in Denver, the
other in Los Angeles. The vehicles, costing $2,725 each, "are the
best machines of their type made.11^^
George Hannan also had a good summer. He sold a thirty
horsepower Yale to Charles K. Whitehead of the Shearson-Hammill
brokerage firm. Whitehead immediately took the car to the Overland
racetrack and turned in a time of 1:09 for the mile. He then
proclaimed the big Yale to be "the best now in use in the city.1'
Several others purchased more modest sixteen horsepower models of the
yale.24
Business was good enough at the Antlers establishment that
it was decided to expand. Plans were made for an addition to the
existing building at Fifteenth and Colfax. Upon completion, the
garage would have a total of ten thousand square feet, and was to "be


34
fitted up with the most modern of conveniences, among them a
turntable" for easier storage of customers' cars. When complete, the
garage would be the "largest in the West." Ground was broken in late
October and completion was slated for December first.
The new garage was to have a large frontage of plate glass.
There would be 125 feet on Fifteenth Street, and 175 feet on West
Colrax. The purpose for the glass frontage was for "samples of all
makes of machines for which the company has the agency" to be
exhibited. Construction delays pushed the completion date for the
large two story building to about January 15,1906
In September, 1905, Charles Bilz secured "the entire charge
of the automobile agency and garage formerly conducted by the
Colorado Motor Carriage Company" The new 1906 model Franklin and
Packard cars were expected in early October. Bilz was still waiting
at the end of October. Two car loads of Franklin touring cars were
expected November' first, and the first shipment of 1906 Packard cars
97
was anticipated November fifteenth. /
William B. Felker decided to expand his business again in
Novembert 1905. He purchased the two lots adjoining his garage on
Tremont Street, and announced plans to build a fifteen thousand
doiar addition. The main oftice and salesroom would be in the
addition. The old building would be given over to repair and
garaging facilities. Future plans included a "large and Handsome"
building on the property with the entire lower rloor given over to
O Q
the salesroom.


35
Also in November, the Antlers Company sold a White car to
Edwin Gaylord. Gaylord, a "prominent Denver horseman" and well known
gambler, was lambasted for giving in to the desire to purchase an
automobile to replace his horse. The reply was that "he did not say
that he would never ride a horse again, but will use the car for
transportation.11 Gaylord did state that he would continue using his
9 Q
horse for racing. 7
Prior to moving into their new building, the Colburns
decided to consolidate their various agencies into one company.
Accordingly, the new company became known as the Colburn Automobile
Company. The company would handle White, Locomobile, Royal Tourist,
and the Pope-Waverly Electric line. u
Along with the Colburn Company, two other dealers moved
into new buildings in January, 1906. The Mathewson Automobile
Company moved to its new quarters at 1624-28 Broadway. The building
was 50 by 125 feet, and "of fire-proof construction." Stock room,
repair shop, and general offices were located on the second floor.
The company also had facilities for charging electric vehicles and
gasoline sales. The newly established Reo Company moved next door to
1634 Broadway when Mathewson moved out. ^
The new year brought forth other announcements from the
dealers. Charles Bilz announced that he had "signed contracts for a
continuance of the Packard, Franklin, and Buick agencies in the state
of Colorado for 1906." The Studebaker Company of South Bend,
Indiana, entered the automobile market in Denver. The company had
been in the wagon and carriage business in town for many years, and


36
decided that it could also find a market for its horseless carriages
as well. R. R. Hall purchased the entire stock of the Colorado
Automobile Company and became the sole proprietor. Local electric
car manufacturer Oliver Fritchie added a new line to his company
also. He became the distributor for the Woods Electric, a
"substantially built" car.
George Herring sold his business to W. H. Gray in December,
1905. The new company would be known as the Gray Automobile Company,
and would occupy Herringfs location at 1548 Broadway until a larger
garage could be built. Herring remained in the employ of the new
company. Linn Mathewson signed a contract to obtain the Oldsmobile
agency in the Rocky Mountain District
New cars were arriving daily, and some dealers were out of
space to store them. J. Hervey Nichols completed construction on an
addition to his garage, giving him an additional 675 square feet.
The addition was fifteen by forty-five feet in dimension; and
included large glass windows and a skylight. The addition allowed
Nichols to increase his force of mechanics to twelve men. C. M.
Wood, selling the Stoddard-Dayton, decided to move his offices from
Court Place to the Gray Garage at 1548 Broadway. Wood was to move
his stock from the Colburn garage to new quarters in the Gray
establishment as well. The reason given was that he would have more
33
room. J
The next month, the Fernald Automobile Company also moved
to the Gray establishment. Fernald, selling the Maxwell, was going
to share offices with the Stoddard-Dayton dealer. He found that he


3
was "becoming badly cramped for room" at his former location in the
hannan-Shearer garage. Fernald felt that he would have "all the
space necessary" in his new location.
At the same time, Linn Mathewson was negotiating for the
purchase of the two lots adjoining his establishment on Broadway.
Mathewson^s plans were to double his present space with a new
building on the two lots. The company was becoming cramped in its
quarters, and was expecting a new consignment of ten Columbia
Electrics. The addition was planned "in order that next summer *s
O c
trade may find the company with plenty of room to handle its cars.11JJ
October saw the S. C. Shearer Automobile Company move into
its new building at 650-54 Glenarm Street. The building was modern,
up-to-date, and reputed to be completely fireproof. Located across
from the Denver Automobile Club, the company offered complete repair
service to its customers, the shop being equipped with the latest
machinery. "A compressed air appliance" for filling tires was also
installed.36
The Colburn Automobile Company announced its plans to
produce a car especially designed for high altitudes. In October,
1906, the prototype was nearing completion in the Colburn shops. The
car was to be equipped with a big radiator to overcome the cooling
problems found in the high country and a specially designed
carburetor. The car was to weigh 2,300 pounds and was expected to
sell for $3,250.37.
The coining of the new year brought out predictions for the
new automobilmg season and statistics for the last year. According


38
to Motor Field, "the seventeen agents in Denver, representing 45
different makes of automobiles sold to residents of this city 560
cars, aggregating in value $1,065,500." Dealers sold an additional
175 vehicles to customers residing outside of Denver, and a grand
total of 748 cars sold in 1906.
The dealers were optimistic for an even better year in
1907. J. Hervey Nichols, "the Winton man," predicted nthe trade
(will) improve rapidly, for by location Denver is the greatest
distributing center in the Great West.11 Ernest A. Colburn echoed
those sentiments, adding that "orders for new cars indicate a brisker
trade than during any. previous season." Ernest R. Cumbe agreed,
noting that he was building a large, new garage and repair shop to
meet demand. Samuel C. Shearer, Altus T. Wilson, and Tom Botterill
all voiced similar feelings when asked for comment.^
The MacFarland-Powell Auto Company opened its new garage at
1618 Glenarm Street in late April 1907. Dealing in both Pope-
Hartford automobiles and Babcock electrics, the company occupied a
"substantial brick building, attractively designed and well lighted."
The main floor covered an area of 130 by 50 feet and contained space
for storage of customerfs cars and demonstration automobiles The
repair shop consisted of two stories of an area twenty by fifty feet.
General repairs were carried out on the first floor and bench work on
the second. The second floor also contained a lounge for
"convenience of chauffeurs who may be forced to wait downtown for
theatre or dinner parties.


Finlay MacFarland entered the automotive business "almost
39
against his will." He found that an investment in the business
required some amount of personal involvement. Together with Fred
Powell as partner and manager, MacFarland opened his shop. The
company later took on the Packard and Buick lines and became "an
outfit which has strewn Buicks so thickly up and down the Rocky
Mountain region that they;re almost merged with the scenery.11
Business continued pretty much as usual through the fall of
1907. George Fernald placed an order for 215 1908 Maxwell-Briscoe
cars to be sold in the next year throughout Colorado, Wyoming, and
New Mexico. Tom Botterill secured the agency for the Babcock
Electric from MacFarland-Powell. The Babcocks were to be sold in
Denver "where there is a brisk demand for electrics." Botterill also
sold the Babcock in his Salt Lake City dealership.
Charles Bilz sponsored a "Franklin Night" for the owners of
Franklin automobiles in the city. Bilz, the Franklin agent, sent
invitations to everyone he had sold Franklins to. Fifty people
attended. Held at the Albany Hotel, the dinner had an automobile
theme, with a Franklin touring car in the lobby, and floral
automobiles for centerpieces.
Bilz had recently lost the Packard agency to the
MacFarland-Powell concern, and MacFarland-Powell wasted no time in
exploiting this coup. Before the year's end, they had managed to
sell one of the expensive machines to Mr. Fred Bailey, of the
Mathewson Company, E. W. Swanbrough, who had left the Nichols
Automobile Company to manage the Pacific Coast Automobile Company In


40
Seattle, Washington, returned to Denver to manage the new sales
division of the Denver Omnibus and Cab Company, selling Blomstrom
"30"| Pennsylvania "50" and Detroit Electric cars.
In 1908, the Studebaker Automobile Company was located at
1536-1540 Broadway. The company advertised that they were
"manufacturers of a1 styles of automobiles, electric pleasure
vehicles five styles, business electrics 800 pounds to 10,000 pounds
capacity." The company's local business was looked after by a
regional manager, and not a local agent. ^
n 1910, the company changed its name, and became known as
the Studebaker Colorado Vehicle Company. With the change in name,
the company moved to a new location at 1515-1521 Cheyenne Place.
Studebaker still advertised that they were "manufacturers of gasoline
automobiles, electric business and pleasure vehicles.11^"
1909 was a year for new dealers to appear in Denver. In
January, a new Ford dealership opened at 1552 Broadway. Charles
Hendee was manager. The Pikers Peak Motor Company opened at 1521
Cheyenne Place. The company, under the direction of jay D.
Hollingshead, would deal in the Stearns automobile.In May, the
White Steam Car interest was taken over by the Denver Automobile
5
Repair Company. The agency was managed by John A. Wahlgreen,T"
September,1909 had several changes. Linn Mathewson
recovered the Reo dealership from the Reo Automobile Company. The
Denver Motor Car Company picked up the Apperson agency to go along
with Overland and Baker. Herbert Havens was doing so well with
Dorris, Lambert and Commercial that he had to expand his quarters at


41
1620 Wazee. Havens and his brother also conducted a manufacturing
business at the same address.
In November, Altus T. Wilson took delivery of the first of
his new line. Wilson was taking on the "black Crow, built by the
Elkhart Motor Car Company of Elkhart, Indiana. The Broadway Motor
Company opened its doors at 743 Broadway, with the Pullman car. The
first two cars, intended to be demonstrators, were sold immediately
upon arrival. At about the same time, the Denver Motor Car Company
was succeeded by the Overland Motor Car Company. The company took
over the Winton Line from J. Hervey Nichols as well as dealing in
Overland and Baker automobiles.
In anticipation of the new season, many agencies made
changes for 1910. Brinker-Vreeland continued with the Rauch and Lang
Electric, but the name was changed to Vreeland Brothers Automobile
Company. The Mathewson Company added Oakland to its stable, joining
Thomas, Reo and Columbus. The Studebaker Company moved into new
quarters on Cheyenne Place between 15th and lbth Streets. The old
location at 1532-38 Broadway would be occupied after remodeling by
the Krebs-Covington Company, representing Haynes and Detroit
Electric.48
Some new agencies appeared on the scene as well. Ingraham
Automobile Company opened its doors at 849 Broadway with the local
distributorship for the Lane steam car. Johnson-Fletcher Motor Sales
Company, 1435-39 Cleveland Place, took on the Everett. The company
later added Peerless, Premier, and Fal-Car to their stock. Alfred
DeGaston, a well known and admired race driver and mechanic, secured


42
the agency for the popular Knox line. DeGaston also ran an "auto-
hire station" from his headquarters at 1333 Broadway. Sharing
quarters with DeGaston in the Central Motor Garage were Walter
Newson, the new White Agent, and W. E. Gibson, who replaced the Pikes
Peak Motor Company as representative for the F. B. Stearns Company of
Cleveland, Ohio. Edward W. Swanbrough, who had returned from Seattle
to run the Denver Omnibus Companys sales department, decided to open
his own dealership and secured the agency for Hupmobile. His offices
were at 1622 Court Place.
By 1910, the automobile had become rather commonplace on
the streets of Denver. It had ceased to be quite as newsworthy as in
1900. Indeed, even the newspapers were using the automobile not only
to deliver the papers, but also to gather the news. No longer was it
important to know who had gone out and foolishly squandered his money
on one of the infernal machines. Chances were that your neighbor had
one, perhaps even a relative was using an automobile.
As the automobile became accepted, competition for
customers grew. The dealerships no longer could simply rent space,
purchase a demonstrator, and take orders. Their showrooms could not
be simply a corner of the bicycle shop or garage. The opulent
showrooms of the 19201s had not appeared, but by 1910, the trend was
being established. Early all-auto dealerships maintained a garage
for storage of customers vehicles, repairs, and if any space
remained, their stock. A customer coming into one of these
establishments would find all manner of vehicles, and would inspect
them in the garage. If he was interested, he would arrange a


43
demonstration. A purchase might be finalized in the proprietors
office off the garage.
Perhaps the first dealer in Denver to recognize the need
for more formal surroundings was W. B, Felker when he built his new
building on Tremont Street. Included in the building was an area
where the customer could inspect the product without going into the
garage proper.
The Colburns also recognized the need to separate the sales
business from the garage. In their new building, they provided for a
large window area on both 15th Street and Colfax where their products
could be seen by the general public.
The sales rooms were simple, however. Photographs in Motor
Field and other publications indicate that the customer walked into a
large, rather plain room that had an example or two of the companys
product. Photographs of the local Stoddard-Dayton agency in Motor
Field show a fairly small space with a pair of cars in the middle. A
large desk and table are also visible in the corner. Evidently,
business was transacted right in the showroom. The exterior of the
agency shows the showroom windows with two cars visible, flanked on
either side by doors wide enough to allow a motor car access to the
rear of the building. A photograph of the Denver Omnibus and Cab
Company's sales room shows two lines of cars facing each other
separated by an aisle. The room is apparently unadorned except for
the automobiles.
If the prospective customer was further interested, the
salesman then escorted him into the garage where the demonstrator


vehicles were stored. A vehicle was taken out and the customer
44
taught to operate the automobile. If a sale was consununated, the
customer often had to wait several week to obtain delivery, if the
desired vehicle had to be delivered from the factory.
Competition also required the dealers to group together.
Initially starting out in many parts of the downtown business
district, they found that more customers could be attracted if they
could walk down a street and view several makes with relative ease.
Increasing rents in the downtown area made it desirable to move to
the outskirts of the district as well. In 1909,
when a certain dealer (Hannan) made the bold move from an
address on Welton Street to Broadway, his Trade friends
looked on aghast. That dealer plunked down $8,000 for a
pair of lots which he insists he could sell today (1917)
for $25,000. Dealer after dealer caught the idea and fled
the downtown district with its limited room and hieh
rents
Broadway was referred to as "automobile row" in Denver's
newspapers as early as February 1909. At least ten dealers had moved
to Broadway, with addresses ranging from the 1200 block through the
2000 block. A photograph taken of the Mathewson Building in 1909
shows the Regal and Chalmers-Detroit agencies on one side and the
Tobin Company on the other. Ford, Knox, Kissel,and White, among
others, could be found on Broadway. Others, such as Stoddard-Dayton
and Colburn, had addresses just off Broadway.
The growth in popularity of the automobile cannot be
denied. When the City of Denver began to require the registration of
motor vehicles used in the city in 1906, 375 cars were registered.
The next year, licensing had almost doubled to 723. By 1909, the


45
number had grown to four thousand. In ten yearsf the entire life
style of Denver had changed.
Prior to the arrival of David Brunton^s electric, the
citizens of Denver relied on the well established streetcar system,
horses( and their feet to get about town. Ten years later not only
were there more than four thousand horseless vehicles in the city,
there existed at least two successful firms making cars.
The commercial possibilities of selling the automobile grew
perhaps more quickly than did its acceptance. With one dealer
needing two years to dispose of eight cars, it did not seem that the
automobile was going to be a hot item in Denver. The Denver Business
Directory did not even have a heading for automobiles until 1902,
when it listed eight dealers. By 1905, there were twelve dealers
listed under automobiles, while fourteen dealers representing twenty-
three different makes had booths at the annual auto show. Five years
later, the number had grown to twenty dealers listed in the
directory. That number was also represented at the annual auto show,
with thirty-nine different makes represented
The automobile business was not an easy one, however. Some
companies did not last long enough to be listed in the business
directory. Others changed agencies and did not handle the cars
listed. Some were not listed, even though they had been in business
for several years. Companies reorganized, changed hands or merged,
making the trail of the automobile dealer an elusive one.
Complicating matters was the fact that the factories renegotiated


46
agency contracts frequently, and seem to have been able to change
local agents at will.
Even though surviving in the automobile business was not
easy, getting started was fairly simple. One simply obtained the
agency for the desired automobile, put out a few ads, and took
orders. In 1906, a gentleman named W, W. Barnett did just that. He
leased a building at Colfax and Broadway. He then spent about
fifteen hundred dollars to buy a demonstrator from the Stoddard-
Dayton Company, and began to take orders. Deliveries were then made
as soon as the factory could ship the cars, often several months,
The dealers in Denver, faced with a limited supply, and an
increasing demand, could often sell their products at prices well
above suggested retail. Premiums of up to four hundred dollars were
offered for quick delivery by 1902. Delays in delivery continued,
depending on the reputation of the dealer with the manufacturer. If
the dealer was a big purchaser, the factories seemed to be able to
supply cars on a more regular basis. For the most part, through at
least 1908 dealers "considered it the height of good business to
keep patrons waiting anywhere from three to six months for their
cars
Regardless of the business problems associated with the
automobile, Denverites wanted to own the contraption. Some were
willing to spend several thousands of dollars to own the best.
Others had to be content with an old, second hand machine that had
seen better days. Some even built their own cars. Soon the city was
swamped with vehicles of all kinds. Denverites were no longer


dependent on train or horse for extended travel. One could simply
climb into his machine and motor off to his destination without
47
consideration for schedules. Often the time needed to drive was
than the time needed to travel to the same destination by train,
automobile was here to stay, and the residents of Denver came to
welcome it with open arms.
less
The


NOTES--CHAPTER #4
48
1. In print, and even in the City Directories, Albert Wahlgreen^s
name appears spelled Wahlgreen and Wahlgren. For the sake of
consistency, his name is spelled Wahlgreen in this paper.
2. Dawson "Scrapbook, Volume 36, 343. Colorado Historical Society.
3. Ibid.
4. Denver Times. February 2,1902.
5. Denver Post. November 16,1902.
6. Motor Field. March,1910, 46.
7. Cycling West and Motor Field. June, 1901,14.
8. Dawson "Scrapbook," Volxune 46, 463. Colorado Historical Society.
9. Ibid.
10. Denver Business Directory. 1895,1900.
11. Walker listed himself as the Western manager of the company, but
the local representative was J. Hervey Nichols.
12. Cycling West and Motor Field, January 1902,19.
13. Ibid.
14. Cycling: West and Motor Field. March,1902, 25.
15. Motor Field. April,1908, 64.
16. Denver Times. April 22,1902.
17. Motor Field. January,1905, 27.
18. Motor Field. July, 1904,10.
19. Motor Field. September,1904, 30.
20. Motor Field. April,1905,11.
21. Motor Field. January 1905,18.
22. Motor Field. October, 1904, 5.
23. Motor Field. October,1905 32.


24. Ibid.
49
25 Motor Field.
26. Motor Field.
27. Motor Field.
28. Motor Field.
November,190510.
December, 1905, 22.
November1905, 50
December, 1905, 42.
29. Ibid., 56.
30. Motor Field.
31. Motor Field.
32. Motor Field.
33. Motor Field.
34. Motor Field.
35. Ibid.
February,1906, 77
March, 1906, 45.
January,1906, 27.
May,1906, 64.
June,1906, 48.
36. Motor Field. November, 1906, 40.
37. Ibid., 44.
38. Motor Field. January,1907 43.
39. Motor Field. May,1907, 29.
40. Dawson "Scrapbook,Volume 46, 463. Colorado Historical Society.
41. Motor Field. January, 1908, 54.
42. Denver City Directoryt 1908.
43. Denver City Directory. 1910.
44. Motor Field. January, 1909, 85.
45. Motor Field. June,1909, 97.
46. Motor Field. October, 1909,102.
47. Motor Field. December, 1909, 80.
48. Motor Field. February,1910, 70.
49. Ibid., 68.


50
50. Dawson "Scrapbook,11 Volume 46463. Colorado Historical Society.
51. Motor Field. February, 1909, 37.
52. Today, the Denver metro area is serviced by more than one hundred
dealerships, representing 35 or more different makes. The related
business: tires, parts, repairs and service, etc. have grown at an
even more phenomenal rate. Service was not even listed in the Denver
Business Directory until 1902. In 1989, the sundry auto related
business rate 128 pages in the Denver Yellow Pages. Used car lots
are almost too numerous to count, but the first dealer to specialize
in used cars was not listed in the Denver Business Directory until
1908.
53. These early figures are not entirely accurate. Some companies
are not listed in the Business Directory although they had been in
business for a number of years. The. Felker Company is an example.
The company is not listed under dealers from 1907 through 1910,
although they still did a good business on Tremont Street. Earlier,
Felker had seen fit not to participate in the annual shows, but was
listed in the directory. Other companies did not last long enough to
be listed in the Business Directory, but did take part in a show.
The same applies to the dealers of today. Some have changed names
several times f others change makes, and some have simply gone out of
business. Caution is warranted in using sources like business
directories and telephone books in tracing volatile Industries like
the automobile business.
54. Dawson "Scrapbook," Volume 46, 463. Colorado Historical Society.
55. Ibid.


51
CHAPTER FIVE
DENVERS AUTOMOBILE SHOWS
The nation's budding interest in the automobile soon grew
to a desire to see the machine. By 1896, bicycle periodicals such as
Cycling West began to discuss the possibility of including the
automobile in bicycle shows. The favorable response to the inclusion
led to the first all automobile show in Madison Square Garden in New
York City November 3-10, 1900. The popularity of these shows made
them an institution by 1905.1
Denver s first automobile show was held the week of
February 20,1899. It was to be part of the bicycle show, and also
included motorcycles. The show would be the "first chance the
curious good people of the city have had to investigate for
themselves the horseless wonder." The automobiles were all from the
American Electrical Vehicle Co. of Chicago and were shown by Mr. A.
H. Gilbert, the secretary of that company. One-third of the
exhibition hall,a space measuring sixty by one hundred feet, was
given over to the autos and they were "stellar attractions.11 ^
The vehicles were driven about the city, and about their
allotted space at the exhibition. Speeds were alleged to be fifteen
miles per hour. The Denver Times, on February 21,1899, reported
that:
two wagonsf operated by electricity, turned and backed in
the limited space assigned to them, and made every


52
spectator foresee the probable finish of the prince of
animals, the horse.
The first all automobile show in Colorado was held in
Denver's Coliseum Hall May 12,1902. It was reputed to be the first
west of Chicago and included many varieties of automobile, including:
Rambler, Mobile, Baker, Oldsmobile, Studebaker, and Columbia. The
show was sponsored by Cycling West and local dealers. A feature of
the show would be demonstration rides and parades. An advertised
attraction would be a giant, three thousand pound racing machine of
fifty horsepower. This likely was the giant Winton ordered by George
W. Wood of Denver. The machine was a duplicate of the Winton factory
racer "The Bullet." The car was reputed to cost in the neighborhood
of five thousand dollars. Wood purchased the car for out of town
excursions, as he felt it was too big and powerful to operate in the
city.3
Coliseum Hall was to be "elaborately decorated" and parades
were scheduled during the show's run. Also featured were "sundries,
A
supplies, and novelties" from eastern manufacturers. The "best
orchestra in the city1' was engaged to play at the show, and the
numbers of the program prepared with great care.11^
Those members of Denver^ society who had an interest in
automobiling looked forward to the arrival of the annual automobile
show held April 12-15, 1905. The local dealers also anticipated the
show, but for somewhat different reasons. Denver ,falways has been a
very rabid automobile city,11 and the various agencies planned to
capitalize on the fact. Plans were made to accommodate out-of-town
visitors, and turn them into customers. Indeed, some out-of-towners


53
contacted various dealers and advised that they were coming to town
for the purpose of selecting an automobile.^
Opening night was as grand as any theatre opening. Mayor
Robert W. Speer and his wife were present, as were other state and
city officials. An orchestra under the guidance of Senor Raffaello
Cavallo entertained the spectators throughout the show. The dealers
of the city went to great lengths to make the show a success. Their
booths were elaborate and "several of them compared favorably with
those at the New York and Chicago shows."
Among those entered in the show were the Antlers Automobile
Company, with the "first complete display of 1905 Ford cars made in
the West." The display consisted of both two and four cylinder
models, and a1 were finished in "dark green and yellow, the familiar
Ford colors" The Antlers Company had recently moved into their new
building at 45-51 West Colfax. The building was "strictly fire
proof" and included a pressed steel ceiling, A complete repair
department was included for those in need of service.
Next to the Antlers display was that of E. A. Colburn, who
was sharing garage space with the Antlers Company. Colburn had on
display cars of both the White and Locomobile lines. Both the cars
shown were entered in the upcoming Pikers Peak climb, and as such
attracted a great amount of attention.
Ernest R. Cumbe displayed two examples of the Rambler line.
Both the 8 horsepower runabout and the 18 horsepower touring car
attracted attention. Finished in Rambler Green with red trim, the


54
cars brought in a number of orders at the show, as well as "a large
number of prospects .11
The Nichols Automobile Company, 1640 Broadway, displayed
only one model out of the five different Winton cars available.
Despite the limited display, the proprietor, J. Hervey Nichols, was
busy. Nichols had on display a chassis of the Winton in addition to
the complete car, and consequently "the various claims of the 1905
Winton" could be shown to prospective customers. Several sales were
made, including an order for a large 24-30 model limousine.
Colorado Automobile Company,1510 Court Place, had examples
of each of their lines. Cadillac, Pope-Toledo, and the Baker
Electric were all on display. Manager "Bert" Hall kept demonstration
models of the three makes on hand outside the hall, and salesmen were
kept busy giving rides. A number of sales were reported to have been
made in this way.
Elmore and Packard automobiles were shown at the booth of
the Colorado Motor Carriage Company, proprietor Charles Bilz
reported several sales and also managed to rent out part of his
building at 1432-38 Court Place to the new agents for Oldsmobile.
The Oldsmobile agency, previously held by George HannanF was secured
by the Minneapolis firm of Winston and Walker, who had the Locomobile
and Columbia agencies in that city. Bilz probably had room in his
garage for Oldsmobile due to his recent loss of the White agency to
E. A. Colburn.
Altus T. Wilson, 1558 Broadway, had a large area in which
he displayed four different makes. The four cylinder, sixteen


55
horsepower Marion; three cylinder, twelve and fifteen horsepower
Cameron; one cylinder, eight horsepower Gale; and Royal Electric cars
were shown to good advantage. Wilson developed several good
prospects for sales.
The Mathewson Automobile Company had one of the busiest
booths at the show. The Queen was proving to be a popular
automobile. Also attracting attention at the Mathewson exhibit was
the first two cylinder, sixteen horsepower Reo to be shown in the
West. A four cylinder, twenty horsepower Moline and a large Thomas
Flyer rounded out the Mathewson display.
George Hannan did not seem to be lamenting his loss of the
Oldsmobile agency. He was busy showing off the Yale and Michigan
cars that he was dealing in. These smaller cars of 14-16 horsepower
proved to be popular, and Hannan reported several sales.
Another popular booth was that of the George N. Pierce
Company. Local manager Tom Botterill had three cars of various size
on display. Botterill sold his entire stock of automobiles at the
show.
Other displays of automobiles included that of Brown and
Beck, with the Orient Buckboard and Flint and Lomax, a Denver company
that displayed the prototype of the Flintlo, soon to be built in
Denver. Wayne automobiles were exhibited by the Automobile Livery
and Repair Company,1551-53 Tremont Street. Conspicuously absent was
the Felker Automobile Company.
To say that the automobile had become popular in Denver by
1905 would be an understatement. Sales at the Automobile Show in


56
April were placed at between $250,000 and $500,000. The dealers, and
everyone else involved in the show were "astonished at the large
number of sales made" Since the year had gotten off to such a good
start, it was expected that the rest of the year would be as good
One response to the number of sales was the establishment
of service departments in the dealerships. The trend had begun as
Q
early as 1902 and was firmly established by the end or 905.
Spring, 1906 brought the Denver automobile scene back to
life, as far as the dealers were concerned. The third annual auto
show opened in a drenching rain April8,1906. News of the show,
one of Denver's social events, was overshadowed by word of the great
earthquake in San Francisco. In spite of the tragic news from the
West Coast, the show was considered a great success. Ail of the
major dealers, again with the exception of the Felker Company, were
represented and reported a number of sales. New dealers included C.
M. Wood with Stoddard-Dayton, and loca manufacturer Oliver P.
Fritchle with a collection of electric runabouts made on Clarkson
Street
The fourth annual automobile show was held April 11-13,
1907. As usual, most of the local agents made plans to have their
products displayed. The show had become such a popular event that it
was decided to hire an interior decorator to appropriately decorate
the hall. Cavallo^s orchestra was again engaged to entertain the
visitors, and a number of makes were available outside for
demonstration purposes. The list of exhibitors included most of the
established dealers in town, and some of the new ones as well. The


57
Western Auto Company, representing the Wayne and Stanley Webster,
the new distributor for Moline, were present, as were several
motorcycle dealers. Also present were booths for Motor Field,
represented by the publisher G. A. Wahlgreen, and Fireman^ Fund
Insurance Company of San Francisco,
Preparations for the 1908 automobile show began in
December, 1907. The site was moved uptown to Capitol Hill. The show
would be held in the new Mammoth skating rink. As usual, the show
was promoted by G. A. Wahlgreen and the local dealer^ association.
Moving to the Mammoth rink doubled the available space over the
previous location at Coliseum Hall. The Mammoth rink, completed in
September, 1907, at a reported cost of $100,000, covers a space of
240 by 145 feet, and contains more than thirty thousand square feet.
The decorations were left to the hands of Alfred C. Barker, who also
was responsible for the decorations of the previous show.^
The list of exhibitors consisted of twenty-five dealers on
the main floor and eighteen accessory exhibits in the gallery. The
dealers included many of the original agents such as Mathewson, Bilz,
and Botterill, as well as some who had changed agencies. George
Herring now sold Stanley steamers, A. T. Wilson lost Ford and picked
up Wayne from the defunct Western Auto Company, and George Fernald
now handled the Maxwell-Briscoe me exclusively.
New agencies included Chicago Automobile Company, 1333
Broadway, with Locomobile; Tobin Motor Car Company, 1620 Broadway,
Peerless and Fritchle; Denver Motor Car Company,1618-20 Court Place,
succeeding the Smith Automobile Company with Great Smith and Carter;


58
Donaldson Motor Car Company, 1448-52 Glenarm Street, Gaeth, Cameron
and Regal;F. A. Trinkle,1374 Broadway, Brush; and Covington Motor
19
Car Company,15th and Cleveland Place, Aerocar.^
The sixth annual auto show was held early in 1909. Now
under the auspices of the Denver Motor Club, the show opened
February 16,1909, and continued through February 18. The new city
auditorium was the site, and most of the available floor space was
spoken for by the first of the year. The Denver Aero Club even
planned to show an aeroplane in its space in the basement.
The established agencies were well represented by Felker,
Mathewson, Botterill, Colburn, and Bilz. New companies included
Velie, J. K. McDuffie with Chalmers-Detroit, and the Studebaker
Company. Charles Hendee was to show seven different models of the
new Ford Model "T". Several of the dealers had added to their lines,
including Herbert Havens with Dorris and the Vreeland Company with
Moon. One person who got into the business as a sideline was Henry
R. Griebel,who sold the Speedwell from his home at 1211 East 18th
Avenue. Griebel also had a telephone for interested parties to call
him. Most of the dealers, if they had telephones, refrained from
publishing the numbers in their advertisements.
Visitors to the show were treated to musical entertainment
under the direction of Maestro Gargiulo. The opening of the show
would be accompanied by the "Denver Motor Club March11 by Garguilo
himself. Spectators could visit the booths of twenty-seven different
dealers, and numerous sundry suppliers. One could look at 150
different automobiles made by thirty-nine separate manufacturers.


59
The seventh annual auto show was held February 23-26 f 1910.
For the second time, it was held at the city auditorium, under the
auspices of the Denver Motor Club. Nineteen dealers displayed about
one hundred cars of various makes. Linn Mathews on also had on
display an aeroplane made by his new company. Thirty-nine different
automobile manufacturers were represented, including the two local
makes, Fritchle and Colburn. Six different electric vehicle
manufacturers were represented. In addition to the nineteen local
agents, thirty-nine accessory dealers were present, hawking anything
from tires to insurance. Entertainment was provided by Gargiulofs
Famous Concert Band. The opening selection on Wednesday afternoon
was once again Garguilofs "Motor Club March." Other original
Garguilo works were scattered throughout the rest of the programs.
The growth of the popularity of the auto shows demonstrates
the increasing acceptance of the automobile in Denver. The early
shows attracted some attention because of the novelty of the machine.
Later, as motoring became more accepted, the shows became a social
event as well as a way for the local dealers to display their
products.
In the first decade of the new century, the automobile was,
by nature of its expense, a toy of the wealthy class. This did not
stop the working classes from having an interest in seeing the new
models every year, and perhaps dreaming of one day owning one of the
flashy toys seen "scorching" through town. This dream would become
possible as owners tired of their cars and disposed of them, often at
bargain prices, in order to make room for a newer, faster automobile.


NOTES--CHAPTER #5
1. James J. FIink, America Adopts the Automobile. 1895-1910
(Cambridge, Mass,: The MIT Press, 1970), 49,
2. Denver Times. February 19p 1899.
3. Denver Times. October 20,1902.
4. Denver Times. April 221902.
5. Denver Times. May 4,1902.
6. Motor Field. April, 1905, 50.
7. Motor Field. May, 1905, 33.
8. Denver Business Directory.
9. Motor Field.
10 Motor Field.
11_ Motor Field.
12 Motor Field.
13. Motor Field.
May,1906, 26-30.
April1907, 27-33.
January, 1908, 11-12.
April,1908, 45.
January,1909, 69-79.
14. Ibid.
15. Motor Field. March,1910, 86-101.


61
CHAPTER SIX
DENVER1S AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS
The American habit of backyard tinkering was turned towards
the automobile in Denver even before the first production autos were
shown in 1899. As mentioned earlier, H. H. Carpenter of Denver was
alleged to have built an electrically powered vehicle by 1895, An
article in Horseless Age described Carpenters invention in some
detail
1899 could be called the year of the automobile in Denver.
In that year, not only was the horseless carriage shown to the
general public for the first time, but plans for coimercial
production of rhe automobie were announced. A local man, J. C.
Henry, announced that he had completed financing arrangements to
produce and market an automobile that would "outclass all others.n
The vehicle was to be powered and controlled entirely by electricity.
Henry *s grandiose plans evidently never materialized, or he elected
to produce the automobile elsewhere under another name, as no record

of a Henry automobile remains today.
The nrst automobile actually recorded as built in Denver
was the Temple. Built by Robert Temple at the Temple Macnine
Companyp 1513 Wazee St., the machine was commissioned by E. J. Cabler
of Denver. As mentioned earlier, the vehicle was constructed
according to plans supplied by Cabler.


62
Work began on the wagon on March 17,1899, and was
completed four months later, July 20,1899, at a cost of two thousand
dollars. The style of the vehicle "is that of a good, heavy road
wagon." The Denver Evening Post on July 21,1899, described the
vehicle in detail:
The wagon is as handsome as it is possible to make a
vehicle of that nature. Silver leaf, gold, dark red and
maroon on the body contrast with the yellow and brown of
the solid rubber tired wheels. The gasoline engine is of a
ten to twelve horse power. The motor is what is
technically known as a hydro-carbon motor, with double
cylinder. Two separate engines coupled together in order
that if one gets broken the operator can rely on the other.
Each of the rear wheels, on which fall ninety percent of
the total weight of 2,000 pounds, is driven independently
by the agency of a heavy steel chain, the principle being
the same as that on a bicycle, with special lubricators.
Safety and emergency brakes, so the wagon can be stopped in
almost the twinkling of an eye are features f with acetylene
lamps for use at night. The operator does not have to move
from his seat in guiding the wagon.
The body sat on a steel frame( and could accommodate up to
fourteen people or an equivalent weight of equipment. The engine was
controlled from the seat by means of a small valve and could develop
three hundred to one thousand revolutions per minute. This latter
speed would give the wagon a speed of about twenty five miles per
hour. The engine was engaged to the wheels by means of levers, one
for fast, the other for slow speeds.^
Upon completion of the machine, Cabler announced that he
and Mrs. Cabler would depart for the town of Victor, by way of
Colorado springs, on a test run of the machine. Apparently, this was
not a business trip for Cabler, although he may have visited the
mines around Victor.


63
Accordingly, at dawn on July 21,1899, Mr. and Mrs. Cabler
and Robert Temple (the builder) left Denver Union Depot. Temple and
Cabler sat in the front seat at the controls while Mrs. Cabler
appropriated the second seat, possibly becoming the first back-seat
driver in the city
The vehicle traveled up Fifteenth Street at a speed of ten
miles an hour. Hills on Broadway were taken with ease, and the party-
reached Littleton in time for breakfast. The route then followed the
tracks of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, evidently driving along
service roads that paralleled the tracks, to Palmer Lake and Colorado
Springs.^
Temple and the Cablers failed to reach Colorado Springs
that day, having run out of gasoline six miles north of Palmer Lake.
Gasoline proved to be difficult to obtain, and a supply was finally
sent from Colorado Springs, arriving late Saturday evening.
Refueling completed, the expedition started out again and finally
reached Colorado Springs at four ofclock in the afternoon of Sunday,
July 23.7
Upon arrival,in Colorado Springs, Temple and Cabler gave
rides to the staff of the Colorado Springs Gazette. Motoring about
the town, they attracted large crowds that proceeded to follow the
machine. The Gazette reported that the trip was to prove that the
automobile could compete favorably with those built in the East.
After the demonstration rides were over, the machine was
parked outside the Kentucky Livery Stables and the passengers stayed
at the Spaulding Hotel. The next day, Temple returned to Denver,


64
having announced that he could build anyone an automobile costing
g
anywhere from eighty to two thousand dollars.7 The Cablers proceeded
to make the attempt to reach Victor, presumably with an adequate
supply of gasoline. By ten thirty that morning they had reached Ute
Park, well above the steep climbs between Manitou and Cascade.
Somewhere between Ute Park and Victor, the machine reportedly became
stuck in a "bad sand patch."la The Cablers finally reached Victor on
the evening of Wednesday, July 26, and several days were spent
motoring through the area1
Robert Temple evidently did not find any takers for his
offer to build motor cars. If he did, he managed to avoid publicity
like that surrounding construction of the Cabler machine. Not until
1905 did another report of a locally built automobile appear. The
automobile show in April, 1905, featured the chassis of a new car
produced in Denver. The Flintlo, a project undertaken by the firm of
Flint and Lomax, was shown in an unfinished condition at the show to
see if there was sufficient interest to warrant production.
Enough interest was evident at the show for the company to
finish the prototype and road test the car. Motor Field, in May,
1905, reported that if road trials went as expected, the Flinclo
would be produced on a "large scale.11
The car was described as a "light, side door tonneau." The
car was powered by a four cylinder, air cooled engine of 3 3/4 inch
bore and 4 1/2 inch stroke. The cylinders were of one-eighth incn
steel tubing with copper radiating flanges pressed on. The car


65
carried fifteen gallons of gasoline under the seat. Ignition was of
Jump spark type fed through a "rotating commutator."
The Flintlo had three speeds forward and three reverse.
The clutch was a multiple disc type actuated by either the brake or a
separate foot lever. Transmission gears engaged from the face of the
gear instead of the more conimon method of engaging from the ends.
Electricity for ignition was supplied by a Fritchle storage battery.
The whole car weighed in at about twelve hundred pounds.^
Evidently, road tests did not prove too satisfactory. The
company did not produce a car other than the prototype, and no
further mention is made of the project until April of 1906. Motor
Field mentions the car as having been shown at the auto show "last
year_"13
The last mention of the Flintlo was found in the same
article as the only mention of the "Havens" automobile. Local
machinist and Lambert dealer Herbert Havens was planning to build
automobiles in his shop at 1618 Wazee Street. The April,1906 issue
of Motor Field stated that Havens had completed his prototype with a
thirty-five horsepower, four cylinder motor. Havens was reported to
be satisfied with the overall performance of the car, except for the
engine. Accordingly, Havens had torn his car apart with the
intention of rebuilding it with a sixty horsepower motor. Evidently,
the car was never satisfactory. The next month at the annual auto
show, Havens had only the Lambert model on display. Later, Havens
brothers manufacturing took pains to make the public aware that they
did not produce motor cars.I#


66
A successful entry into the business of automobile
production was made by Oliver parker Fritchle. Fritchle had come to
Colorado upon graduation from Ohio State University. The family
business had little use for an engineer, so after correspondence with
his sister, Clara Kepner, he elected to move to Colorado. Arriving
in 1899, Fritchle at first secured employment with the Excelsior
Mining Company in Frisco.
Fritchle worked in the mining industry for several years
before turning to electricity and its various applications. by 1905,
Fritchle was listed in the Denver City Directory as residing at
1448 Clarkson, and dealing in automobiles across the street at
1449 Clarkson. Fritchle was the local agent for the Rauch and Lang
electric car, and also dealt in supplies for electric automobiles,
including both Exide brand and his own Fritchle batteries. He
1 c
advertised that he would buid electric cars to order. ^
At about the same time,1905, Fritchle was also
experimenting with an electric car of his own design. By January,
1906, he had driven the prototype 2,500 miles, and suffered no
mechanical breakdowns, While he planned production of his own
automobile, Fritchle, a prudent man, maintained his dealership of
Rauch and Lang, as well as his profitable repair and service
departments in his Electric Garage.
The car was guaranteed to travel one hundred miles on one
charge of its battery. Fritchle also claimed to have reduced the
weight of the batteries from over twelve hundred pounds to about six
hundred pounds. An advertisement pointed out the price of replacing


67
batteries was about forty cents a pound. The question was asked
"Which would you rather buy, a six hundred pound battery at the end
of eight thousand miles or a twelve hundred pound battery at the end
of five thousand miles?"17
Fritchlefs first yearfs production was limited to seven
cars. By August, 1907, Fritchle had acquired orders for twenty cars.
These ranged in price from $1,650 for a seventy-five mile runabout to
$1850 for either a one hundred mile Stanhope or a two or four
passenger combination. Fritchle shipped a car to G. M. Spencer of
Chicago, Illinois, the first sale of a Denver car to the east.
Spencer had made a study of all the electric cars on the market and
concluded that none "in his opinion, equalled in all essential points
the qualities of the Denver made car.11 The company would "send the
Fritchle anywhere on earth for a demonstration.11 They also wanted
"live ones" to act as agents.
In May, 1909, the company moved across East Colfax into new
quarters at 1510 Clarkson, the former mammoth skating rink, where it
stayed until Fritchle decided to cease operations in 1920. This move
allowed for the expansion of both vehicle and battery production.
The new quarters also provided for a larger service area.
From the beginning, the Fritchle automobile was unusual.
The company claimed that the vehicle would travel one hundred miles
on a single charge. Another claim was that the entire car, except
the wheels and tires, was built in the Clarkson Street shops.
Advertisements claimed that the entire vehicle, except the tires,
would be guaranteed for one year from the date of shipping.


68
Customers were invited to compare the guarantee with other electrics,
all of which supposedly offered only a ninety day guarantee. The
advertisements stated that "The people who appreciate the value of a
Fritchle most, are those who have owned other makes of electrics."
Bodies were also built in the Denver plant. The Colorado
climate, it was maintained, allowed the wood to season perfectly.
The bodies were built of wood with aluminum panels inset, as was
common body building practice of the day. Front and rear battery
compartments were covered with metal hoods, and "protected on the
inside from acid action by acid proof wood veneer." All Fritchle
body designs were patented.
Equipment included a Fritchle milostat, a device that
showed the amount of charge in the battery; a Weston Volt-Ammeter to
register current flow; an odometer; eight day clock; tool kit; and
four lamps outside. In addition, the closed models had a dome light
that came on when the doors were opened; a flower vase; and a rear
view mirror. The open cars were supplied with a windshield;
speedometer; and a full cape top and storm curtains (in place of
windows).
Steering was from the left side, and as in most electric
cars of the time, from the back seat, at least in the closed cars.
In place of the more common wheel, steering was accomplished by a
lever. In this lever was mounted the controller, a device to
regulate the current flow to the motor. The controller was also of
Fritchle design and patented. The controller provided five speeds
forward and three reverse. Operation was accomplished by advancing


69
the controller lever for forward motion, and pulling it back for
90
reverse. Speed was from eight to twenty miles per hour.
The motor, of Fritchle design as well, normally supplied a
whopping three horsepower, but was capable of developing up to ten
horses. At the same time, when coasting down hills, the motor would
automatically act as a generator. This would serve to create a
braking action, as well as serving to recharge the batteries. It was
maintained by the company that this feature was of value in slowing
up" at crossings as "the momentum of the car is absorbed by the
battery as power to be utilized, instead of by the brakes to be
dissipated as heat," and found only on the Fritchle automobile. The
motor:
is flexibly suspended from the body at the balance point of
the motor and is rigidly connected to the rear axle by a
tubular housing which serves as a torsion tube, inside of
which is our direct line driving shaft. By this method of
connecting the motor shaft to the worm shaft, we eliminate
the heavy, troublesome, unbalanced, power consuming
universal joints1
The batteries, also built in the Clarkson plant, were
claimed to be superior to the more common Edison batteries in use in
most electric vehicles. They consisted of a total of thirty-two
cells and rated at sixty-four volts. A 150 ampere-hour capacity was
maintained. Fritchle stated that the batteries were "absolutely
guaranteed,11 but the term of the guarantee is not specined. Renewal
price was set in 1914 at $220.00.
Oliver Fritchle began early to prove his invention. On
June 26,1907, the Rocky Mountain News reported that Fritchle became
the nrst person to drive from Denver to Colorado Springs in an


70
electric automoDile. Upon arrival at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado
Springs, the News reported that the odometer read 71.9 miles, the
distance traveled from the Fritchle shops in Denver to the hotel. To
make sure that his claim could not be questioned, Fritchle was
accompanied by a Model"S" Oldsmobile in which rode C. 0. Sprenger of
Denver, Paul Waterman, Charles Buckner, and E. E. Frazier." A
Fritchle advertisement in the Denver Republican on December 11,1910,
claimed that the stunt was the result of a "wager with Denver
motorists, who declared that Mr. Fritchle could not drive one of his
cars to Palmer Lake on one charging of his battery." The trip became
well publicized in advertisements for the Fritchle autos. After the
return trip, the car was driven about Denver until the battery was
99
completely discharged. The odometer read 105 miles. ^
Another publicity stunt by the Fritchle Company was also
advertised in the Denver Republican on December 11,1910. Oliver
Fritchle took a car out of stock and climbed Lookout Mountain via
Chimney Gulch. A letter from Rees C. Vidler reprinted in that
advertisement in the Republican stated that he had observed that the
car had come up the mountain via a route the "average grade for
nearly four miles being ten percent, and in one place the grade being
twenty seven percent" Vidler admitted to being suitably impressed
with this stunt. Apparently, this was the first time that anyone had
tried to climb Lookout Mountain in an electric car.
Perhaps the biggest publicity stunt that Fritchle pulled
was in 1908. He had challenged the other manufacturers to a race
between Lincoln, Nebraska, and New York City. He chose Lincoln over


71
Denver as a starting point due to the lack of charging facilities on
the Colorado plains. Fritchle#s 1914 catalogue, on page 27,
reminiscences:
During the summer of 1908, there was considerable
enthusiasm shown by several manufacturers of electric autos
on the subject of touring or durabilty contest. As the
Fritchle eectric had won in every contest of speed, hill
climbing, and mileage per charge, and had toured the Rocky
Mountains for the four years previously, we were conndent
of winning in a tour across the country against any and all
the electrics on the market and we challenged them to a
durability contest, worthwhile, which challenge we herewith
reprint..
The competition was challenged to make the mentioned run in
the fall of 1908. The Fritchle Company stated that they intended to
make the run, and did not want to "go about it in a fgum-shoe7
manner." The competition "did not accept our challenge; so we
started out alone after waiting all summer for someone to accept.,!
The trip was completed in twenty-three days and covered 2,140 miles
of virtually non-existent roads starting October 31 and finishing in
late November. J
For some reason, Fritchle chose an open runabout model
instead of a somewhat warmer closed car for the trip. The expedition
was made without mechanical failure, but it was not without mishap.
On several instances, time was lost trying to find a place to charge
the batteries. At one point in the journey, Fritchle towed a broken-
down car ten miles into town after the owner found that he couldn't
fix the car on the road. The electric became stuck in the mud and
sand of a dry river bed, succeeded in scaring a farmer^s horse, but
only suffered one flat tire.^^


2
The operator himself was not immune from trouble. Fritchle
was arrested twice on the trip, once in Pennsylvania, and once in New
Jersey> both times for driving without a valid state license.
Fritchle arrived in New York City without further mishap, proving the
reliability of his invention. From New York, Fritchle drove on to
Washington, D.C. and toured that city before returning to Denver.
Testimonials sent to the company from satisried customers
were numerous Gilbert Campbell of Long Beach, Calfornia, reported
that after twelve thousand miles, he was still receiving good
service, but was worried that some service might be necessary.
Campbell asked that the company supply him with the name of a
reliable mechanic in his area. William D. Downs of the Gano-Downs
Dry Goods store (outfitters to men and boys) in Denver was so
impressed with his 1908 model that he purchased another in 1911.
Downs maintained from 1911 to May,1914, service costs on the 1911
model were only $24.75, excluding nof course any tire changes." Evan
E. Evans of Evans Investment Company in Denver, son of former
territorial Governor John Evans, claimed 65,000 miles on the odometer
or nis 1908 model, and stated that "it runs just as well as it did
the day I bought it "
Production of the Fritchle was limited. As the vehicle was
hand built, the plant could only turn out a few vehicles per month.
M. B Updike of Omaha, Nebraska, wrote that his wife was still driving
her 1908 model, numbered 118. If production was numbered
consecutively from number one, then the conclusion can be drawn that
less than two hundred cars were built from 1906 through 1908. Motor


73
Field reported in August, 1907, that Fritchle had produced or planned
to produce twenty-seven cars by that date. The Rocky Mountain News
on January 9,1910, reported production for 1909 to be one hundred
cars. The News of that date further stated that Fritchles plans for
1910 were to double that to two hundred cars. Clifford 0. Fritchle,
Oliver Fritchle^ nephew, believes that his uncle's company produced
about two thousand cars from 1906 to 1917. If production continued
at the rate reported by the Rocky Mountain News that is two hundred
cars per year from 1910 through 1917, two thousand cars would be a
reasonably accurate figure. The invention of the self-starter for
gasoline powered automobiles, as well as wartime material shortages
caused Fritchle to stop production of automobiles in 1917, but for
the next three years the Fritchle Electric and Garage Company stayed
open to service the automobiles still in use. ^
In 1906, another successful automobile manufacturer came
onto the Denver scene, the Colburn Automobile Company. Produced from
1906 to 1911, the automobile was built by Judge Ernest A. Colburn and
his sons ERnest A. Jr. and Henry C. Colburn. Judge Colburn is known
to Denver history as a horseman who kept a fine stable of horses, and
competed with them in many harness racing events. The Colburns also

built the Colburn Hotel in downtown Denver.
The Colburn family became involved in the automotive field
first as dealers, handling White, Pope and Locomobile, among others.
They opened the Antlers Automobile Co., located at the corner of
Fifteenth and Colfax Streets. In 1906 the company was reorganized
into the Colburn Automobile Co. at the same address.


74
The prototype of the Colburn was shown at the 1906 auto
show, and the Colburns immediately received several orders for the
car. The Colburn was well received at the show, and plans were made
for the car to be made on "a large scale." All components were to be
made in Denver, and the new Colburn Block was being equipped with the
tooling to manufacture the car, as well as to continue to service and
O ft
sell the other automobiles the company handled. 7
As Judge Colburn was interested in racing of any kind, the
automobile produced by his company naturally was entered in the local
racing circuit. The racers entered and won several events, including
a two hundred mile race in 1909. The 1909 racer was a forty
horsepower roadster stripped of its fenders, but otherwise a stock
model, still retaining even its horn.
The Colburn was a handsome car, easily identified by the
large "C" mounted on the radiator. It was available in a variety of
styles, including roadster and touring. In 1909, the company made
two separate lines, the "35 and a higher priced line of forty
horsepower. The "35" was characterized by a sloping hood similar to
the French Renault. The forty horsepower line had more traditional
styling, and models were known by letters. The roadster was known as
the model "H."
The specifications for the model"H" are impressive. It
was supplied with a four cylinder, overhead valve engine of a
(manufacturerr s) rated horsepower of forty. As it was common
practice to underrate horsepower of an engine, allowing that model to
compete in a lower class in racing, the actual horsepower was


75
probably much higher. The company advertised a speed of seventy-two
miles per hour.
Spark was supplied by a Bosch High-Tension magneto,
"connected direct to spark plugs An alternate system of ignition
was supplied via storage batteries, a coil, and a separate set of
spark plugs. The engine connected to the transmission through a Hee
Shaw multiple disk clutch. The transmission was of four speeds, with
direct drive in third, fourth being an overdrive
Wheelbase was 108 inches, and weight was 2,600 pounds. The
body was either a roadster type or touring with red upholstery,
special colors requiring six weeks notice. The model"H" was
supplied with five lamps; an acetylene generator; horn; tool kit; a
jack; and a tire pvunp and repair kit. The car was advertised as
silent and reliable. The price for this reliability was $4,500. The
company planned a total annual production of between two and five
hundred cars, to be based on sales.
December of 1909 saw the announcement of a new company
entering the vehicle manufacturing field in Denver. The Universal
Motor Company demonstrated the prototype of their 1910 model heavy
truck. The Denver Times, on December 18,1909, carried a picture and
short article about this new truck. "Denver motor truck better than
its inventor had promised" read the caption over the picture. The
article then went on to describe the companyfs efforts.
The truck was loaded with rive tons weight, then coupled
with a trailer carrying an additional four tons load. The truck then
made a "splendid trip...at the rate of eighteen miles per hour.11


76
Power was supplied by motors "in each wheel.11 These motors were
found to develop nine horsepower, rather than the expected five.
Frank H. Summeril was listed as president; P. A. Balcom, vice-
president; and F. H. Crass was secretary of the corporation. Offices
were located in the Ideal Building, while the plant was at 1933-43
Curtis Street.%
As the automobile became more and more popular in Denver,
the established manufacturers in the East could not keep up with
demand. All over the country, local businessmen sought to meet the
need for automobiles by producing them locally. Some, like Colburn
succeeded for a while, but most faded away without going into mass
production. Only a few manufacturers like Fritchie managed to
survive any length of time at all. The needs of the war effort in
1917 probably succeeded in closing those companies that were just
hanging on. The economic trends, coupled with difficulties in
obtaining materials, eventually sorted the auto manufacturers out
into a select few who solved the multitude of problems associated
with producing an automobile. Sadly, none survived in Denver.
The shortage of the popular makes of car made the locally
produced vehicles popular in the Rocky Mountain regionf but they
failed to find any large market nationally. These cars did manage to
command a fairly high price, between $1,500 and $5,000, and were hand
built in small shops. The adoption of mass production techniques
made these shops financially unable to compete. Their small volume
would not profitably support conversion to mass production. Since
manufacturers like Colburn charged a high price for their cars,


77
introduction of the lower cost, mass produced cars made
in their trade. Most could not survive for long in the
competition.
a severe dent
face of such


NOTES--CHAPTER #6
78
1. Floyd Clymer, Automobile Scrapbook. Vol.3 (Los Angeles; Clymer
Motors,1952), 36.
2. Denver Times. May 15,1899.
3. Denver Post. July 20,1899,
4. Colorado Springs Gazette. July 25,1899.
5. Denver Post. July 211899.
6. Ibid.
1 Colorado Springs Gazette. July 23,
8. Colorado Springs Gazette. July 25,
9. Ibid.
10. Colorado Springs Gazette. July 26,
11. Colorado Springs Gazette. July 29,
12. Motor Field. May, 1905, 33.
13. Motor Field. May, 1906, 47.
14. Ibid.
15. Motor Field. April,1906, 63.
16. Ibid.
1899.
1899.
1899.
1899.
17. Motor Field. January, 1907, 58.
18. Motor Field. August, 1907, 58.
19.1914 Fritchle Electric sales catalog, Clifford 0. Fritchle
Collection. This collection has since been donated' to the Colorado
Historical Society. It is now a part of a growing collection of
Fritchle artifacts, collected largely through the efforts of
archivist Stan Oliner.
20. Ibid.
21.Ibid.
22. Motor Field. August,1907, 58.


23.1914 Fritchle Electric sales catalog.
24. Motor Field. December,1908, 32.
25.1914 Fritchle Electric sales catalog.
26. Ibid.
27. Clifford 0. Fritchle, interview with the author.
28. Clymer, 78.
29. Motor Field. November,1906 44.
30. Clymer, 78.
31.Ibid.
32. Motor Field. November,1906, 44.
33. Ibid,
34. Denver Times, December 18,1909.


80
CHAPTER SEVEN
THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW AND THE AUTOMOBILE
As the automobile grew in popularity, it became obvious to
the citizens of Denver that the use of the machine had to be
regulated. While the city never showed the auto-phobia
(characterized by restrictive and prohibitive legislation) that some
parts of the country did, many citizens found cause to complain about
its use. They called for reasonable restrictions, not the outlandish
laws formulated by some of the other towns. No Denverite was legally
required to disassemble and hide his machine if a horse balked at the
sight of the contraption, but prudence dictated that the automobilist
take steps to calm the horse. Motorists in Denver did not have to be
preceded by a flagman, but they were expected to control the speed of
their macnines.
Initial opposition to the auto-buggies centered on the
"high" speeds at which they were operated. Before 1900, some cars,
notably steamers, were capable of speeds of twenty to thirty miles an
hour on city streets. Letters to the editor and editorials in the
local papers all condemned "scorching" on city streets, and asked for
speed restrictions. A 1901 letter to the editor of the Denver Times
asked if there was an ordinance restricting the speed of automobiles.
The writer, who signed himself Pedestrian, stated that "they glide
along the principal streets of the city with the speed of a railroad


81
train and the recklessness of a runaway.M "Pedestrian" was afraid
that someone was going to "be struck by one of them and never know
what happened." The writer contended that these horseless carriages
were difficult to hear coming; and at the speed of twenty miles per
hour, automobiles were 11 a dangerous thing to come in contact with."1
An editorial in the Denver Times on April 30,1902, was in
the same tone. The Times alleged that they had received numerous
complaints about reckless operation of automobiles along Broadway.
The residents on Broadway were said to enjoy the "passing show...but
they have a very natural prejudice against the maiming of themselves
or their children." The problem had not started with the automobile,
but years earlier with the bicycle craze:
...there were 30,000 wheels in active operation day and
night. Such scorching the world has never seen. In those
days, nobody had any rights but the bicyclists. There were
ordinances limiting the speed of bicycles, but nobody paid
any attention to them. When the scorcher came along, the
poor pedestrian was obliged to hunt his hole, and that at
the top of his speed. Occasionally, but all too rarely,
the scorcher came to grief...
The editorial found that though the bicycle craze was dying out, it
was being replaced by the automobile. It was felt that a combination
of bicycle and automobile would lead to the end of any safety for the
pedestrian. The speed limits were not being adhered to, indeed
"drivers seem to care as little for it as they would for an order
against yelling at a baseball game.1' The editor ended by noting that
the rules of the road gave precedence to the pedestrian, and if the
rights of the person on foot were not recognized out of courtesy,
"then the law must be invoked.11 ^


Local newspapers universally condemned "scorching, but not
the automobile itself. An article in the Denver Post leads the
reader to believe that speeding is a disease or an addiction not
unlike the use of morphine, cigarettes, or alcohol. Even women were
not exempt from the disease, and "only a ride of lightning rapidity
will satisfy their craving."3
The laws mentioned in editorials referred to ordinances
enacted to control vehicles such as bicycles and horse-powered
vehicles. The police applied these laws to the automobile as well,
as an ordinance that specifically included automobiles was non-
existent. ^ The Fire and Police Board instructed Chief Armstrong to
apply the bicycle ordinance to automobiles operated in the business
district. This had been done successfully in Chicago, and it was
felt that it would work in Denver as well.5
The first attempts to control the horseless carriage came
July 27,1902. The park board of the city of Denver decided to ban
automobiles of any type from City Park after six in the evening.
This ban was in response to an incident where several horses were
scared at a concert. Police were to be stationed at all gates to the
park to enforce the rule.
July 30,1902, saw the drafting of Denver^ first
comprehensive automobile legislation. It included the restrictions
on the use of parks in the first ordinance, and had several other
provisions as well. All autos in Denver were required to be
registered and display numbers in a prominent place. The numbers
were to be eight inches long and four inches wide. This was "to


83
enable people who are run over to readily read whose vehicle it was
that injured them.11 Motorcycles were included in this requirement.
Parked cars could be left with their engines running for only five
minutes. It was thought that if one wanted to visit longer than
that, he should turn off his machine. Speed limits were also set. A
maximum speed of eight miles per hour was allowed in the downtown
area bounded by Broadway, Wazee Street, Nineteenth and Colfax
Avenues, and Larimer Street between Cherry Creek and Downing Avenue.
Speeds for the rest of the city were set at fifteen miles per hour,
or the rate of a street car. Care was to be taken at crossings, and
speed reduced
In 1906, a chapter of the Denver Municipal Code was devoted
to the automobile. An automobile was defined as "any vehicle
propelled by electricity, steam, compressed air, naphtha, gasoline,
kerosene, or other form of motive power.11 All vehicles were to be
registered with the Fire and Police Board, which would issue a number
to be attached to the vehicle. Numbers were to be plain arabic
numerals not less than 4 inches high, and of a color to contrast with
the background color on which they were mounted. The number was not
to be transferred to any other vehicle, or to any other person.
All operators had to obtain a permit before driving a
vehicle on the city streets. The permit was to be issued by the Fire
and Police Board upon application. The applicant had to file a
written request and present some proof of his ability to operate a
motor vehicle. If the presented evidence was satisfactory, the board
would issue a permit upon payment of one dollar.


84
Speed limits were raised somewhat in 1906, from eight to
ten miles per hour in the business district, and from fifteen to
eighteen miles per hour in the rest of the city. All vehicles were
to be operated at a reasonable and safe manner at all times( and turn
corners and pass intersections at speed of not more than six miles
per hour.
All vehicles were to be equipped with a gong or horn to act
as an alarm to be sounded whenever a collision might occur. It was
also to be used to warn pedestrians and others of the vehicle1s
approach. All vehicles were also to be equipped with brakes capable
of stopping the vehicle from a speed of twelve miles per hour in a
distance of ten feet. Any vehicle operated from dusk to dawn was to
have a set of lights to show the presence of such vehicle on the
road. Penalties for violation of any part of the section were from
five to one hundred dollars for every offense, and revocation of the
operator^ permit could result. The courts seldom revoked the
licenses of violators, possibly because repeat offenders were a good

source of income to the city.
Before the introduction of these ordinances, as noted
earlier, police applied laws pertaining to bicycles and other
vehicles to the automobile. The police found that they could not
apprehend the "scorchers" in uniform and on foot, so they had to
resort to other means. Officers in plain clothes, equipped with
bicycles, were stationed in strategic places along favorite routes to
apprehend the culprits. Violators( including those on bicycles, were
Q
taken directly to Police court and fined.


85
A favorite target for the police, possibly because they
were on the streets more often, were the automobile salesmen. A
favorite sales tactic was to take a prospective buyer out for a ride
and demonstrate the speed and power of the machine. Officers
evidently were acquainted with these men and upon observing them out
on the streets, could prefer charges in Police Court. The officer
would then estimate the speed of the automobile, and the judge would
pass sentence. Fines of twenty-five dollars were not uncommon.
Linn Mathews on, working at the time for George Hannan, had
the distinction of being the first "scorcher" to be fined by the
court. Mathewson claimed that he was obeying the eight mile an hour
speed limit, but Officer Askew estimated his speed at about twenty
miles an hour. In fining him twenty-five dollars and costs, Judge
Thomas noted that Mathewson had been in court the year before for the
same offense. At that time the judge gave Mathewson a stern
reprimand.il
One gentleman, William B. Felker, Jr., of the FeIker Cycle
Company, was constantly in trouble because of his speeding. He was
fined five dollars and costs January 16,1902, for speeding after the
police chief and a judge saw him speeding dovm Sixteenth Street at a
speed of at least fifteen miles per hour. It was noted that
ordinances provide for a speed of not more than eight miles per hour.
Felker mentioned that the ordinance was written before the automobile
was invented, and allowances should be made for the improved
technology of the motor vehicle. In March, after causing an
accident, Felker was given a lecture about the proper operation of


86
warning signals and the evils of speeding by Captain Skelly of the
police.
The policy magistrate fined two young gentlemen twenty-
five dollars and costs august 251903, for engaging in a speed
contest along Colfax Avenue. Harold Kountze and Tyson Dynes, both
prominent citizens, cheerfully paid the fines, The arresting officer
stated that while he appreciated sport as much as the next man, this
type of behavior on the citys streets could not be tolerated. The
officer ordered the pair to stop their reckless disregard for
"pedestrians, street cars and baby carriageswhich they quickly
i q
did, at least until they were out of sight of the cop. J
Speeding and reckless driving continued to be a problem
throughout the first decade of the century. By June,1909 the
problem had grown to such proportions that the Fire and Police Board
directed the police chief to confiscate "the machines of those owners
who are found guilty of having violated the ordinances and
regulations regarding the speeding of their motor cars." Confiscated
machines were to be stored safely in a building until released by the
magistrate or other court.
Other measures taken by the board to curb speeding on
Denverfs streets included revocation of an operator^ permit. If one
was found guilty of violating a speed limit or other automobile
ordinance, the result was the loss of the privilege to drive in
Denver for an unspecified period of time. The police reminded the
citizens of Denver that all who drove motor vehicles in the city had
to have permits. Permits were not to be issued to anyone under the


87
age of sixteen. The public was requested to call the police if they
noticed a child driving a car.15
Vehicle regulation and registration moved more slowly at
the state level. New York State first began to call for registration
of automobiles in 1901. By 1903, eight other states had followed
suit. By 1905, a total of twenty-five states had enacted
registration laws. All except three of these states allowed for a
one time registration while the same owner had possession. Colorado
did not enact any legislation for control of the automobile until
1913. Even then, these laws provided only for registration of
vehicles, and did not set any speed or other traffic laws. These
were left to the individual municipalities.


NOTES--CHAPTER #7
88
1. Denver Times. May 28,1901.
2. Denver Times. April 301902
3. Denver Post. October 28,1902.
4. Denver Times. March 13,1902.
5. Denver Times. March 29,1902.
6. Denver Times July 26,1902.
1 Denver Times. July 30,1902.
8. Denver Municipal Ordinances # 157-160, 1906. The first
experimental traffic signal light was installed at the corner of
Fourteenth and Larimer Streets in early 1934. This light was later
replaced with a permanent signal on April 5,1934, joining the citys
first permanent light at Colfax and Speer Boulevard.
9. Denver Times. May 25,1900.
10. Denver Times. January 15,1902.
11. Denver Times. January 15,1902.
12. Denver Times January 16,1902.
13. Denver Times. August 25,1903.
14. Denver Municipal Facts. June 26,1909,12.
15. Ibid.
16. James J. FIink, America Adopts the Automobile 1895-1910.
(Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press,1970),166-169.


89
CHAPTER EIGHT
WOMEN MOTORISTS
The early days of motoring are typically thought of as the
domain of the menfolk. Contrary to this idea, many of Denver's women
were adventuresome enough to not only own a motor car, but they also
drove their machines as well. The women of Denver quickly set out to
prove that the predicted disasters resulting from mixing the fair sex
and machinery would not happen.
A reporter from the Denver Republican claimed to be the
first woman west of the Mississippi to drive an automobile. In the
March,12,1899 issue of the Denver Republican, the reporter, thought
to be Eva Bird Brown, described her adventure of the month before.
During the automobile show in February, 1899, Mr. Gilbert, the
representative of the American Electric Vehicle Company, had been
persuaded to instruct Miss Brown in the operation of one of his
machines. Upon completion of the brief lesson, the intrepid duo
ventured onto the streets of the city.
Miss Brown at first found the vehicle a bit odd, as there
was "no horse, no whip, no ribbons in front." Gilbert drove the
automobile out of Coliseum Hall and down to Colfax, where he turned
control over to the novice "automobiless.11 While changing seats, the
pair endured numerous questions from onlookers, including "what would


90
it do to a car (streetcar) if you ran into it?1 from a very small boy
with a very large mouth."
"It must be very difficult to handle11 remarked a bystander.
!,Mr. Gilbert smiled and helped the woman-who-rides into the seat,"
Starting out slowly, with "feminine hands" at the controls, the
carriage went about four miles an hour. After getting the feel of
the machine, the speed control was changed, and "for a few blocks the
carriage made a blur of everything it passed."
While under way, the ride was "so gentle, and the pneumatic
tires stole so quietly over the pavement that the tyro thought
herself under the influence of some hypnotic power." Some bystanders
sought to make fun of the contraption and its passengers, "crying
whoa, or clucking vigorously,M while others found the sight a
terrifying one. Horses did not seem to be bothered by the machine
destined to make them a rarity, and "with the exception of a pricking
up of their ears, there was no sign of annoyance." A woman on a
bicycle, however, Mshied terribly" when she looked back and saw the
horseless nightmare bearing down on her. She "cast a look behind
her, saw the automobile coming, gave one startled cry, grabbed her
wheel and rushed madly for the sidewalk.n
Women cyclists were not the only ones frightened by the
passing machine. The driver of a coal wagon was "seized with a
sudden panic11 and drove his team directly into the path of the
oncoming vehicle. Bystanders foresaw a wreck of tremendous
proportions and admonished the operator to stop. Gilbert stepped
firmly "on the big button of the brake" and quickly brought the


91
machine to a halt. The vehicle stopped "short and gracefully" with
about two feet to spare. Gilbert later allowed that the big wagon
would have "done things" to his automobile if a colision had
occurred.
The ride ended in a coast down Colfax Avenue. The machine
gainea speed as it glided down the hill, and
it seemed that the carriage was going straight on over the
top of the engine bourse and on to destruction, but it
didn^t. It was like shooting the chutes, only better.
The return to Coliseum Hall was uneventful, and "the novelty of being
the observed of all observers had worn off." Miss Brown enjoyed the
rest of the ride, and expressed the hope that her editor would assign
her to more stories involving automobile riding.1
While she had the distinction of being the first woman to
operate a motor vehicle in the city, Eva Bird Brown was certainly not
the only one. By 1902, many society women had acquired automobiles,
and were seen motoring about town. Electrically powered machines
were favored, but those powered by steam and gasoline were also
popular. Mrs. David Brunton holds the honor of being the first woman
in Denver to own her own car. Her husband enjoyed so much success
with his Columbia that he ordered another, a Pope Mark III Phaeton,
for his wife. Mrs. William Felker followed suit, opoerating one of
the Locomobiles that her husband was purveying. The Fekers were an
automobiling family. Daughter Wilma took quickly to the complexities
O
of operating a steam powered carriage at the tender age of eleven.
One of the most intrepid young women operating a horseless
carriage in Denver was Julia Campbell. As mentioned earlier, Miss


92
Campbell acquired one of the machines raffled by the Felker Cycle
Company and Hurtbut^s Grocery. Mr. Campbell wanted to give the car
to a minister that he held in high regard. Julia would not allow him
to do that, as she had her eye on it for excursions to Overland Park.
Miss Campbell held that never give up the horses for the auto,
Q
and never give up the auto to the minister.
Julia Campbell acquired the reputation as one of the most
fearless drivers not only in Denver, but the entire state. She
allowed that on trips out to Overland, she goes at a "pretty rapid
pace.
Not only was Miss Campbell an accomplished automobilist,
but a mechanic as well.
Miss Campbell is the only young woman in town, so far as I
know, said a dealer, who is willing to get under a machine
with an oil can and a monkey wrench. She has tipped her
Loco up several times to my knowledge to see why the wheels
didn#t go around properly."
Miss Campbell admitted that "the boys teased me nearly to death about
it," but that she saw no real difficulty in operating and maintaining
the little Locomobile.^
Mrs. Lawrence Phipps found herself so taken with
automoblling that she kept motor cars at both her Denver and
Pittsburg residences so that she would be able to motor about either
city. Not satisfied with driving a "ladies1 machine" all the time,
Mrs. Phipps was known to run out to Montclair in
the big red [Mercedes] touring car, the road racer that the
men affect such ferocious goggles f leather hats and tightly
buttoned coats with, as though the handling of it was
something terrible.


93
Mrs. Walter Cheeseman could be seen driving about in her
three thousand dollar maroon and green electric Victoria. She was
joined by Mrs, Alvin Daniels and Mrs. Henry Porter in their
electrics. Mrs. Linn Mathewson drove a variety of vehicles, and
could be counted on to appear for any club run or other automobile
adventure. Other women soon followed the lead of the pioneers, and
lists of sales almost always included at least one woman. Their
purchases ranged from a simple electric or two cylinder Oldsmobile up
to the largest, most powerful machines available, including Thomas-
Flyer, Packard, and Winton
Miss Evelyn Walsh caused quite a stir in Denver1s social
circles as well as local automobile establishments when she took
delivery of the new, $22,000 Fiat limousine ordered for her by her
father, Thomas Walsh. J, Hervey Nichols delivered the car, which was
placed in the care of a chauffeur hired especially to drive the big
car. Miss Walsh was not expected to drive the big car herself,
leaving the operation "at all times" to William Sullivan, the
chauffeur. The car was especially ordered for Colorado roads, and

was four inches higher than its European companions.
Women also took the time to be aware of the total operation
of their autos. A Denver automobile manufacturer stated:
Women study their machines, and they get out of the know-
nothing class mighty fast. What is more, women are fussy
about their machines, and it is just what they ought to be.
If they hear a squeak, itrs stop then and there and oil up!
While, if a man hears the squeak, he says f0h, that^ll quit
of itself after a while.f Perhaps it does after a drop of
oil has managed to leak through.


94
Female autoists, by paying close attention to their machines, managed
to keep their maintenance costs to a minimum, often as much as a
quarter of the service cost of a similar machine operated by a man.^
Lower maintenance was not a result of cautious ooperation
on the part of the ladies. To the contrary, some women took delight
in the hazards associated with automobilmg. They were known to take
steep hills on the fly, dart into narrow gaps in traffic, and take
risks that most men avoided. Doctors felt that mastering the
automobile allowed women to overcome their sense of fear. One Denver
physician held that:
Women who are afraid of everything, .. .have come out
wonderfully after learning to run a gasoline motor. It
frightens them so thoroughly, and gets them so used to
taking risks, that they forget to be afraid when there
really is nothing to be afraid of0
The ladies surpassed the men on the point of courtesy on
the road as well. Men made a point of being courteous to the
"goddess in the machinebut politeness did not extend to motorists
of the same gender, or the general public. Women, on the other hand,
made a point to adhere to the rules of the road, and be as courteous
as possible. One young lady said that she had always received the
most considerate treatment. perhaps its partly due to the
fact that I don^ behave as if the streets were created for
my exclusive benefit. If a truck driver pulls up his team
to let me go by, I don't act as if the whole road were mine
anyhow. I look up at him and bow my thanks.
While women were quick to embrace the automobile, they also
made a point to dress appropriately for motoring. When Mr. and Mrs.
Cabler set out on their motor trip to Colorado Springs in July, 1899,
Mrs. Cabler took care to dress "in a becoming pearl gray fedora,


95
driving gloves, and a cool blue serge traveling dress.,,x^ Fashion
dictated automobiling dresses should be made of linen, but could be a
variety of colors. For cold weather, a second skirt could be added
and a warm lap robe included for comfort. White was found to be
fetching but not entirely satisfactory, as the nature of motoring
tended to soil the costume. Tan or gray was serviceable, but not
terribly complementary to the complexion. A new shade of blue was
the rage in 1902 for automobile gowns. Sapphire blue frocks imported
from paris were embroidered with white, and lined with white taffeta
silk.13
Automobiling costtunes often included a Norfolk jacket with
pearl buttons. Other jacket styles could include Eton or Bolero. A
white silk blouse was always de rigueur. Depending on the weather
and the purpose of the trip, a short Russian blouse belted at the
waist with a belt of the same color as the jacket could be
appropriate. A big round straw hat with white lace veil and a
parasol completes the summer motoring outfit for the fashionably
dressed woman automobilist of 1902.14
Winter outfits were of the same styles but of heavier
material. Canvas cloth, velvet and tweeds were all popular. Small
and large sleeves were in fashion, but the large sleeve was more
popular. Winter hats were of felt, beaver, velvet or silk, with
plumes, quills, flowers and fruit as adornment. Jackets were a
little heavier, with three quarter length coats or Newmarket styles
popular. Gray squirrel was among the most popular furs, often


Full Text

PAGE 1

THE AUTOMOBILE IN DENVER, 1895-1910 by Steven Llewellyn Beagh1er B.A., University of Colorado, 1976 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of History 1989

PAGE 2

.",', This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Steven Llewellyn Beaghler has been approved for the Department of History by

PAGE 3

Beaghler, Steven Llewellyn (M.A., History) The Automobile in Denver, 1895-1910 Thesis directed by Professor Mark S. Foster This thesis looks at the automobile in Denver from its first reported appearance through the year 1910. The automobile had an impact on the city of Denver almost from the moment of its arrival. Some of the significant aspects of the influence automobiling had are discussed here. Beginning with a look at the development of the automobile, including its European origins, the study continues with the arrival of the machine in Denver. While not immediately a' hit with the citizens of the city, the automobile soon became a cornmon sight on Denver's streets. The automobile dealers of Denver managed to convince the populace that the horseless carriage was around to stay, and that it was possible to own one. Automobile shows were one way to display the machines to the public, and their influence is discussed here. The dealers were soon joined by several local manufacturers in Denver's automobile trade. The horseless carriage forced some changes upon society. Speeding automobiles became a danger to the public and laws were enacted to control the menace. Women quickly took to the automobile, a reporter in Denver claiming to be the first woman to operate an automobile west of the Mississippi. Accidents occurred, often resulting in injury to persons or property. The presence of more than one automobile soon led to speed contests, and racing quickly became a popular sport.

PAGE 4

iv Several trans-continental motor trips came through Denver prior to 1910. Often sponsored by manufacturers, these trips were intended to prove to the public that the automobile was a reliable form of transportation. Other trips were simply that--trips across country by private individuals. The Glidden tour also made a three day stop in Denver on its 1909 reliability run. The final pages attempt to put Denver's experience with the automobile in a national context. Examining some other regions has shown that the horseless carriage arrived and was in wide use in the West. The southern states did not take up the automobile in significant numbers until about 1909. The northeastern states, having a wider industrial base, began manufacture and use of the automobiles prior to 1895. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Signed Professor Mark S. Foster

PAGE 5

v CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 1 II. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND ITS ARRIVAL IN AMERICA ......................... 5 III. THE AUTOMOBILE COMES TO DENVER ............... 17 IV. AUTOMOBILE DEALERS .......................... 25 V. DENVER'S AUTOMOBILE SHOWS .................... 51 VI. DENVER'S AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS ............ 61 VII. THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW AND THE AUTOMOBILE ... 80 VIII. WOMEN MOTORISTS .............................. 89 IX. ACCIDENTS AND MISHAPS ........................ 98 X. RACING ........................................ 105 XI. THE GLIDDEN TOUR COMES TO DENVER ............. 114 XII. CONCLUSION ................................... 123 BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................... 129

PAGE 6

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION The arrival of the automobile in the United States began a revolution both in social mores and manufacturing processes. The automobile would eventually allow Americans an unprecedented freedom to move about their country. Making a better and cheaper car would bring new theories of industrial practice. But, in the early years of the new century, the automobile was an oddity, a rich man's toy. Then the advantages of owning a horseless carriage came to light. By 1900, stores began to realize that operating an automobile cost less than maintaining horse-drawn delivery wagons, and the initial cost was comparable to that of a good team. Deliveries were quicker, and a delivery area could be expanded.1 Doctors also found that the new machine had possibilities. While it could not find its way home, an automobile could allow the doctor to reach his patients more quickly. The machine was more patient as well. It would stand out all night in the cold and not complain. It might be a little hard to get moving the next day, but old Dobbin could be just as difficult.2 The small machines that first appeared on the streets of America's cities had a limited range. That was fine, because the roads outside of town were seldom passable to the little cars. The pressure from the bicycle clubs for improved roads also benefitted the horseless carriage. Automobile proponents were quick to take up

PAGE 7

distances and terrain required either the train or an extended overland trip to get from one place to another. 2 The automobile overcame those barriers. A trip that took days on horse could be shortened to hours in the horseless carriage. The automobile also reduced dependence on railroad schedules. As it matured, the automobile grew into a reliable beast of burden, asking only fuel and lubrication for faithful service. In 1900, though, there were those that questioned any value placed on the smelly. noisy machine. The automobile came to Denver soon after its introduction in the United States. Floyd Clymer, in one of his popular Automobile Scrapbooks showed a reprint from Horseless Age magazine describing an electric car built by H. H. Carpenter of Denver in 1895.3 By 1899, the automobile had arrived in Denver to stay. Local newspapers carried descriptions of these vehicles and the reaction of the populace. E. J. Cabler had a large motorized utility wagon built for use in his business. David Brunton, A Denver mining engineer, had a Columbia Electric shipped to him from the factory. Brunton assembled the car and drove it about town for a number of years. The automobile became a part of the annual bicycle show held at Coliseum Hall that year. Even though the automobile was now operating on the streets of Denver, its popularity remained in question. It took one dealer two years to sell eight cars. Eventually, those that could afford to purchase a motor car formed a fraternity. and worked towards gaining acceptance for the automobile.

PAGE 8

The following pages will explore the automobile's first years in the city of Denver. Beginning with a brief look at the development of the modern automobile in Europe, this study will examine several facets of automobiling in Denver. This will include the dealers and manufacturers. Legislation to control the wild operation of the machine on the city's streets, as well as the operators themselves, will also be discussed. 3

PAGE 9

4 NOTES--CHAPTER #1 1. James J. Flink, America Adopts the Automobile. 1895-1910, (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1970), 88. The Daniels and Fisher store in Denver began to use automobile delivery in March of 1899. 2. Michael L. Berger, The Devil Wagon in God's Country, The Automobile and Social Change in Rural America, 1893-1929, (Hamden: Archon Books, 1979), 176. 3. Floyd Clymer, Automobile Scrapbook, Vol. 3, (Los Angeles; Clymer Motors, 1952), 36.

PAGE 10

5 CHAPTER TWO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AUTOMOBILE, AND ITS ARRIVAL IN AMERICA The concept of a self-propelled vehicle is not a new one. In the thirteenth century, Roger Bacon speculated that "cars can be made so that without animals they will move with unbelievable rapidity", but did not pursue the idea because of motive power problems. Leonardo DaVinci toyed with the idea three hundred years later, drawing something like the modern military tank, but a suitable power source was still lacking, and he put the plans aside.1 The first real advance toward development of a practical horseless vehicle came in 1769, when French army officer Nicholas Cugnot built a three wheeled carriage powered by steam. Cugnot's plan was to use the device for pulling artillery. While the carriage, did work, it did not work well. In trials, the machine proved hard to steer, and the contraption left the road on a curve at a speed of three miles per hour.2 The idea again died out for a while, then was reborn in England in 1828 with the development of steam powered omnibuses. These busses met with some commercial success. They maintained schedules and ran regular routes and had a reputation for safety. This success brought about their demise. Stage and railway companies feared the competition and successfully lobbied for discriminatory legislation limiting the speed of these "free carriages", and

PAGE 11

requiring a man to walk in front of the machine carrying a red flag. These laws were not repealed until 1896 and served to restrict development of the automobile in England until then.3 For most of the nineteenth century, man had to be content with his faithful companion, the horse, or his oWn feet to get from one place to another. The development of the railroad helped conquer long distances, but did not adequately solve the problem of introurban transportation. Street railways and interurban transit began to appear in some larger cities, but one still had to get to and from the stops. The first solution came in 1885 with the introduction of the "safety" bicycle. The invention of James Kemp Starley, this was a bicycle with a chain drive to the rear wheel that allowed for a reduction of the size of the wheels.4 As direct drive was eliminated, the front wheel could be reduced in size without sacrificing speed. As a result, women and small children could mount a bicycle and ride with relative ease. Because of this, bicycle riding became popular for both transportation and recreation, and those with bicycles began to demand better roads.5 In the United States, pressure from the League of American Wbeelmen resulted in the improvement of many state and local roads. In 1893, Congress appropriated ten .thousand dollars to the Department of Agriculture for a Bureau of Road Inquiry. This bureau was to study and provide information on highway construction. This department later became the Bureau of Public Roads.6

PAGE 12

The development and growth of the bicycle supplied a necessary boost to the infant automobile industry. The bicycle supplied technology necessary for the production of a marketable motor car. Tubular framing, ball and roller bearings, chain drive, and differential gearing were all used first in the construction of bicycles and later adapted to the automobile. The pneumatic tire, developed in Ireland by John B: Dunlop for the bicycle was used extensively in automobile production without any change in its design.7 7 Many of the first automobile manufacturers previously built bicycles. These included: Morris in England; Opel in Germany; and Pope, Winton, and Willys in the United States. One reason for this is the bicycle manufacturers were already prepared for manufacturing, and had a ready supply of the necessary materials.S The solution to the problem of a powerplant for a horseless vehicle came closer to reality in 1860, when Etienne Lenoir patented an internal combustion engine in France. This engine did not work too well, but it worked well enough for use with pumps and in machine shops. Lenoir worked to improve his engine, and in 1862 put one in a vehicle. He then attempted to drive it from Paris to Joinville-lePont, a village about seven miles away. The round trip took about three hours, and Lenoir never repeated the trip.9 The first modern automobile was built in Austria in 1875. It was the invention of Siegfried Marcus; an engineer of wide renown. Marcus' vehicle included electric ignition, a carburetor, intake and exhaust valves, and water cooling. Marcus evidently drove this wagon

PAGE 13

8 about Vienna for some time, but eventually abandoned the idea because he could see no financial gain and possibly legal problems in the use of his invention.10 Shortly after Marcus drove about Vienna, Gottlieb Daimler, in Germany, improved on the earlier Otto four cycle engine, reducing the size and eight and increasing engine R.P.M. capacity. Daimler mounted this engine on a bicycle, and later in a boat. Both applications worked, and Daimler patented his motorcycle.11 Between 1885 and 1889, Daimler and his assistant William Maybach built four experimental four wheeled vehicles with a 1 1/2 horsepower, 110 pound engine that produced six hundred R.P.M. 12 In 1890, the French firm of Panhard and Levassor obtained the manufacturing rights to the Daimler motor. The firm decided to build entire automobiles instead of just the engines. Panhard and Levassor changed the accepted design of the wagon, and located the engine in front of the passengers instead of under the seat. It was found that this would allow for the use of a larger engine. In 1895, Panhard and Levassor used a four horsepower engine of Daimler design to drive a car from Paris to Bordeaux and back at an average speed of fifteen miles per hour. The age of the automobile had begun. 13 About the same time, several inventors in the United States were experimenting with the horseless carriage. Ransom E. aIds was building steam powered vehicles in his Lansing, Michigan shops between 1887 and 1891. In 1893, 01ds sold one of his cars to the London firm of Francis-Times for use in Bombay, India. The sales price was four hundred dollars.14 In 1893, Charles and Frank Duryea

PAGE 14

built a vehicle after reading in Scientific American about a car built by Karl Benz. Elwood P. Haynes, with Edgar and Elmer Apperson, and their assistant Jonathan Maxwell built a similar machine in Kokomo, Indiana in 1894.15 A small demand for motor cars developed, and several experimenters incorporated to meet that demand. The Duryea brothers founded the Duryea Motor Company in the fall of 1895, and delivered their first vehicle in February, 1896. They built twelve more machines that year. Alexander Winton, already a bicycle manufacturer, incorporated the Winton Motor Carriage Company in 1897. Winton originally planned to produce motor busses, but after delivering six busses, the threat of law suits caused Winton to switch to production of private vehicles. The following year, the Haynes-Apperson Company was incorporated.16 The fledgling automobile industry was about to become embroiled in the first of many legal battles it would face. In 1879, a patent attorney named George Selden applied for a patent on the gasoline powered motor vehicle. Selden kept updating his patent application to include new developments in the industry. Modifications were made to the original application to include the Otto and Daimier type engines in the patent.17 In 1895, Selden finally accepted patent number 599,160 on the motor carriage. At this time, Selden had not produced a working model of his design, but believed that he was entitled to the patent for combining various devices into a motor car.lS

PAGE 15

10 Selden had a patent, but could not afford to prosecute those he felt were infringing on it. Then, in 1899, a group of investors combined the Electric Storage Battery Company, the Electric Boat Company, and the motor carriage division of Pope Manufacturing Company into the Electric Vehicle Company.19 During research for incorporation, lawyers for the new company came across the Selden patent. Although they were not planning to produce gasoline powered vehicles, lawyers recommended paying Selden 10,000 dollars for a license. Upon further investigation, Electric Vehicle Company decided to team up with Selden and collect a royalty on all the motor cars being produced. 20 The first targets were small companies that did not have the funds to fight the patent in court. Selden and electric Vehicle offered favorable terms to these companies, and many accepted. Armed with proof that the patent was valid, Selden now took on the Winton Motor Carriage Company. After reviewing the case, and amassing 1,400 pages of documentation, Winton's lawyers advised settlement if Selden were reasonable. Selden was generous, and proposed that no fees were to be charged for vehicles made before the settlement. As part of the agreement, an association was established to share in the royalties collected under the patent.21 This association would oversee licensing and collection and distribution of royalties. The Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers was formed, and was allowed to collect two-fifths of the royalties. Selden received onefifth, and Electric Vehicle collected the remaining two-fifths.22

PAGE 16

11 In 1903, Henry Ford explored the possibility of joining the A.L.A.M .. Ford was told that as he was simply an assembler of automobiles, and because of his record in the business, he would not be accepted. This annoyed Ford, and he decided to fight the A.L.A.M. and Selden. He founded the American Motor Car Manufacturers Association (A.M.C.M.A.) in order to press the fight. He was joined by Reo (R. E. Olds), Briscoe and others. The French Firm of PanhardLevassor also joined to help in the legal proceedings. The members posted bonds to release purchasers of their products from liability if the case was decided against them.23 Eight years later, the final appeals court held that the patent was valid, but had not been infringed. The court ruled that Selden's patent only covered vehicles built with the Brayton type two cycle engine. As all gasoline powered vehicles in the United States were built with an Otto type four cycle engine, they were not included under the patent. Because of the decision, Henry Ford became known as the champion of the common man against big business, although Ford himself was a prime example of "big business. 1124 As the automobile became a common sight on city streets, more and more people felt the desire to own one. Among the first to own an automobile in a community was the local doctor. The doctor quickly found that the auto offered him many advantages over the horse. In theory, the auto would start easily and be ready at a moment's notice, but cold weather certainly slowed this process somewhat. However, the automobile definitely aided the doctor in

PAGE 17

making his rounds, and allowed him to arrive less fatigued and in less time.25 12. While doctors and merchants could justify owning a vehicle as a necessary part of their business, others wished to own an automobile for the social prestige it gave them. Woodrow Wilson is reputed to have announced that the automobile was an ostentatious display of wealth, and would lead to socialism by inciting envy of the rich.26 This need for social status was often displayed in the purchase of bigger .and more prestigious cars, rather than simply transportation. The cost for this status was often borne by a second mortgage on the family home. Because of this borrowing, a number of homes were lost to foreclosure.27 Those people fortunate enough to own an automobile found that they could go on outings in the country with relative ease. Mishaps happened, but the threat seldom discouraged motorists from these adventures. Breakdowns, mud holes, and flat tires were common occurrences. It was easy to incur the wrath of the rural dwellers by running over livestock, and the motorist was always at fault in such cases. Tourists also were known to stop and picnic on private land, and poaching of fruit and vegetables often occurred. This led to animosity between farmers and automobilists, and often resulted in restrictive legislation against the automobile.28 Rural communities enacted laws that called for motorists to fire Roman candles when they sighted a horse. The operator could also be required to telephone ahead to the next town to give warning of his approach. Legally, the horse had precedence over the auto,

PAGE 18

and the motorist had to stop his vehicle if a horse appeared to be frightened. 29 13 There was much less resistance to the automobile in the cities. 'Enthusiasts claimed that the cost of keeping a horse in the city was about twice the cost of an automobile, or about one dollar per day. The initial cost of an automobile was about the same as that of a good carriage; or about one thousand dollars. The taxpayer saw an additional savings in reduced cost for collecting horse manure from the streets.30 This manure contributed to two thirds of the refuse on city streets, and the resulting dust was thought to cause diarrhea in children. The automobile's rubber tires were quieter t.han the clatter of iron wheels and horseshoes, and replacing the horse and wagon with the automobile would result in quieter cities.31 As the automobile became more and more popular, motor clubs began to appear. The first was the American Motor League, founded November 1, 1895, by an association of manufacturers. Four years later, on June 7, 1899, the Auto Club of America was founded in New York City.32 Later, in 1902, the American Automobile Association (A.A.A.) was founded. A.A.A. was an association of local clubs, and founded by the Auto Club of America, the Long Island Auto Club, Philadelphia Auto Club, Rhode Island Auto Club, and the Chicago Auto Club. Other clubs entered into the association, and eventually, the requirement of membership in a local club for membership in the 33 A.A.A. was dropped. These organizations began to favor licensing laws and legislation restricting municipalities' ability to arbitrarily enact

PAGE 19

14 speed laws. Some of these state-level laws took the form of calling for large signs stating the speed limit at each change of speed, others forbade local municipalities from setting speed limits.34 Municipalities began to regulate use of the automobile shortly. after its appearance on their streets. Chicago required operators to be licensed in 1900. To get a license, one had to prove knowledge of the rules of the road and the responsibilities of operating an automobile. The applicant also had to prove that he was in good health. past driving history was reviewed upon renewal.35 The horseless carriage reached the western United States somewhat later than in the East. Only if someone ventured east could he view this new marvel. By 1895, a few hardy souls in the West were experimenting with building experimental automobiles. Although not terribly impressive, these initial attempts encouraged others with the potential for the automobile. As Eastern production increased, a few of the contraptions made their way into the hands of Western enthusiasts, and the automobile reached Denver.

PAGE 20

NOTES--CHAPTER #2 1. John B. Rae, The American Automobile, (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1965), 2. 2. Ibid. 15 3. Frank Ernest Hill, The Automobile. How It Came. Grew. and Changed Our Lives, (New York, Dodd, Mead and Company, 1967), 5. 4. John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, (Cambridge. Mass.: The MIT Press, 1971), 28. 5. Rae, The American Automobile, 5. 6. Hill, 21. 7. Rae,The American Automobile, 6. 8. Ibid. 9. Hill, 6-8. 10. Ibid. 9. 11. Ibid. 11. 12. James J. Flink, America the Automobile. 1895-1910, (Cambridge, Mass. : The MIT Press, 1970), 12. 13. Ibid. 13. 14. Ibid. 17. 15. Ibid. 19. 16. Ibid. 25. 17. Rae, The American Automobile, 34. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid. 20. Hill, 42. 21. Hill, 42-43. 22. Rae, The American Automobile, 36. 23. Ibid. 37.

PAGE 21

24. Ibid., 38. 25. Michael L. Berger, The Devil Wagon in God's Country. The Automobile and Social Change in Rural America. 1893-1929, (Hamden: Archon Books, 1979), 176. 26. Rae, The American Automobile, 29. 27. Flink, 103. 28. Berger, 22-24. 29. Ibid. 25. 30. Flink, 88. 3l. Ibid. 105-106. 32. Ibid. 145. 33. Ibid. 156. 34. Berger, 28. 35. Ibid. 174. CHAPTER THREE 16

PAGE 22

17 THE AUTOMOBILE COMES TO DENVER Denver's love affair with the automobile began almost with the birth of the beast. While the average nineteenth-century Denverite relied on horse and buggy, bicycle, or their feet to get about, an adventuresome few had begun to experiment with a strange new device. Initially, these people were dismissed as crackpots, or possibly dangerous. Later, as the number of automobiles increased, these people began to be taken seriously. The fortunes of the city of Denver have always been dependent upon some form of transportation. Early settlers in the Cherry Creek area arrived with their possessions in wagons drawn by horses or oxen. Later, when the transcontinental railroad bypassed Denver in favor of an easier route through Wyoming, the residents of the city banded together to build a connection to Cheyenne so that the city could have access to the markets of the coasts. As the city grew, interurban transportation became an important feature in the city. "Streetcar suburbs" grew up along the streetcar lines, and the citizens were able to live in nice residential areas outside the crowded city center. As Denver was growing the European invention known as the automobile was being perfected by ingenious Americans. A short time later, it appeared in Denver. While it was not immediately evident, this new invention was to change the way of life in Denver forever. The automobile had come to town to stay.

PAGE 23

18 When the Denver Times, on February 19, 1899, invited the "curious, good people of the city" to visit the bicycle show at Coliseum Hall to view the four wheeled wonder known as the automobile, few Denverites had seen one. One or two had been bold, or fool-hardy enough to consider obtaining "a "horseless wonder," but prior to the show, no automobile had threatened the horses of Denver. The Times went on to predict "the probable finish of the prince of animals, the horse." The automobile had made its debut in Denver, and while not an inunediately success, it was "already the corning fad" with a certain segment of the population. The "horseless wonders" were representative makes from the Electric Vehicle Company. They were demonstrated by A. H. Gilbert, the secretary of that company, assisted by three "expert electricians." Mr. Gilbert brought with him a delivery wagon and a runabout model. The type of the third machine is not recorded. The vehicles would travel at speeds between two and twelve miles per hour. All could travel about thirty five miles on a charge, at a cost of about one cent pe"r mile. The vehicles also were equipped with electric lights for operation after dark. Mr. Gilbert was available to demonstrate the vehicles on the streets of Denver during the show. 1 Shortly after the heralded arrival of the automobile at the 1899 bicycle show, the contraption began to show up on the streets of Denver. The Daniels and Fisher department store was reported to be using "an automobile delivery wagon" on March I, 1899.2 Someone at Daniels and Fisher saw the possibilities of a horseless vehicle in

PAGE 24

making deliveries, and probably purchased the delivery wagon shown the week before. David W. Brunton, a local mining engineer, had a Columbia electric shipped to him from the factory. The order was placed October 15, 1898, and was delivered May 2, 1899.3 Upon returning from a business trip May 9, 1899, Brunton found the automobile 19 wai ting. He then "spent the day setting it up." The next day, Brunton "ran (the) electric carriage on streets of Denver." Brunton is also reputed to have constructed the first private garage in the city at his residence, 865 Grant St.4 Some people decided not to wait for the eastern factories to ship automobiles to Denver. Instead, they obtained plans and built their own machines. In 1895, Horseless Age magazine showed a vehicle built by H.H. Carpenter of Denver. It was an "electric vehicle of unusually light and pleasing construction." The front wheels were from a bicycle, and the steering was by tiller. The Carpenter electric was powered by storage batteries of Carpenter's own invention.5 Among other home-made horseless carriages on the streets of Denver was a contraption built by Daniel Spencer. Mr. Spencer ran a bicycle repair shop at 2246 Welton, where he probably built the machine in his spare time. No description remains of this machine, but as it was built in a bicycle shop, the vehicle probably had bicycle wheels and pneumatic tires. The body was likely similar to other horseless vehicles of the time and resembled a surrey-type wagon. However, this is only conjecture.6

PAGE 25

20 The popularity of the automobile grew quickly. Part of this popularity has been attributed to the scenic beauty of the state. This, coupled with the easy accessibility to the tourist spots from Denver, made the automobile popular with the tourists as early as 1902.7 Estimates put the number of autos in the state in 1900 at 90. Five years later, there were 800, and by 1910, more than 4,600 cars operating in Co1orado.8 Of this number, a great part were owned and operated in Denver. The Denver Republican estimated the sum total of motor vehicles in Denver in 1908 to be 3,340, with the number growing to over 4,000 in 1909.9 Denver Municipal Facts was a bit more conservative in its estimates for 1909. By the June 26, 1909 issue, the count was put at 3,000, with another 600 motorcycles reported. The Denver Republican, in its January I, 1911 issue reported that an additional 1,140 autos had been registered in the city in This brought the total to 5,220. Several. reasons were given for this enormous growth. These included the work of the Good Roads Movement, increasing prosperity in the state, and the favorable climate. The Denver Motor Club and similar clubs in surrounding communities were also given credit for the rise in the ownership of automobiles. The various clubs were applauded for their work in erecting road signs to aid tourists.lO It was estimated that by the end of 1910, at least fifteen hundred workers were employed in businesses related to the automobile in Denver. There were 101 businesses involved in some way with the automobile, including dealers, supply stores, repair stations, and rental establishments.l1

PAGE 26

21 In a voter registration drive in 1901, Denver's Republican Party took advantage of the novelty of the automobile to increase its numbers. While several carriages had been allotted to this task, it was found that they could not adequately handle the load. Judge Allen, a .party official, and the candidate forjustice of the peace, T. E. McClelland, hired an automobile to shuttle people to the registration point. Speed prompted the use of the auto. Two or three trips could be made in the automobile in the time it took to do one round trip in a buggy.12 Auditor D. A. Barton held the belief that: the automobile has been a great political success. We have taken people from Montclair and Harmon to 752 Broadway to register. Do you suppose we ever could have induced them to go there a year ago? They would have said it was too far. But a ride in an automobile is a different proposition. It doesn't seem half far enough to people who have never ridden before. All kinds of people are partial to the auto. When we call, they are very much pleased to accept. In fact, I attribute our success in the district to the automobile.13 The success of the registration drive in district "M" made politicians wonder how they had managed to do without it in the past. The Republicans of the district claimed the idea for their own, but encouraged party members of other districts to try the idea.14 The growing numbers of automobiles inevitably led to "borrowing" machines from their owners. The first automobile reported stolen in Denver was taken the week of September 10, 1903. Someone took a red four-cylinder Franklin car from M. J. Patterson of West Denver. The car was reported stolen from in front of the Boston Building between the hours of eight and ten P.M. during a meeting of the Denver Automobile Club. The vehicle could be identified by the

PAGE 27

22 manufacturer's number, 106, found in small numbers on the identification plate on the back of the machine. The car also carried Denver registration number 8 in large numerals on a piece of leather suspended from the rear axle. Mr. Patterson offered a reward of fifty for the recovery of his car, and $150 for information leading to the conviction of the thief. Anyone with information was asked to contact Mr. Patterson at his expense. Police theorized that the automobile had been taken out of state, but were "doing everything in (their) power to capture the thief."l5 The car was one of four like it in the state. Of the others, number 95, owned by the Felker Cycle Co., and one owned by Senator Edward o. Wolcott, were known not to be in use. The remaining vehicle was number 107, owned by Dr. Cochem of Salida. Citizens were requested to report sightings of an auto of this type outside Salida, as it probably was the stolen vehicle. 16 By September 12, the Franklin, which "has been touring about the state in the hands of someone not its owner," was recovered. Washington County Sheriff George W. Ball cabled Patterson from Akron: "Have your automobile. Man gone away. Pay reward and take machine." Patterson dispatched Morris Hardesty and Karl Burghardt to Akron to examine the machine and determine if it could be driven back to Denver. Patterson stated that the reward would be paid for the recovery of the automobile, but "I have not heard anything concerning its condition, but I presume it has not been very carefully used ... it

PAGE 28

23 must be in bad shape." The car must have been in fairly good shape, as Patterson ran the car at Overland Park later that month.17 Between 1899 and 1903, the automobile had grown from an oddity on the streets of Denver to a common item that could be stolen with relative impunity. The number of "horseless carriages" on Denver's streets had reached the point that citizens began to demand laws to control the use of the contraption. While still something of a novelty, the machines were already being perceived as a potential danger to society. Danger aside, Denverites had enough desire to own an automobile that several entrepreneurs went into the business of catering to that desire. Men, women, and even children were not immune to the "auto-mania" sweeping Denver. Those owning automobiles used them for business, pleasure, and sporting events. Some even drove cross-country, without any road. As time went on, those without motor cars felt the need to own one, and often went deeply into debt to satisfy that need.

PAGE 29

24 NOTES--CHAPTER #3 1. Denver Republican, February 19, lB99. 2. Denver Times, March 1, lB99. 3. Motor Field, April, 190B, 16. 4. David W. Brunton, "Diary," Colorado Historical Society. 5. Some doubt remains as to the actual existence of this vehicle in Denver. H. H. Carpenter is not listed in the city directories of the period, and no mention of such an unusual device has been found in Denver's newspapers. Part of the problem in tracing Carpenter, and others, is the fact that they are sometimes referred to in print only by their initials. Where possible, a complete first name will be provided throughout this text. 6. Denver Times, March 19, 1900. 7. James J. Flink, America Adopts the Automobile. lB95-l910, (Cambridge, Mass." The MIT Press, 1970), Ibid., 15. 9. Denver Republican, January 1, 1910. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. January 1, 1911. 12. Denver Times, October 16, 1901. 13. Ibid. October 20, 1901. 14. Ibid. October 16, 1901. 15. Ibid. September 10, 1903. 16. Ibid. 17. Denver Republican, September 13, 1903.

PAGE 30

25 CHAPTER FOUR AUTOMOBILE DEALERS Enterprising Denver businessmen soon saw the commercial possibilities of the automobile. G. Albert Wahlgreen and C. o. Rhodes secured delivery ofa load of Locomobiles.1 Locomobile placed an advertisement in Cycling West magazine April 12, 1900, announcing that its product could be seen at the establishment of Enos T. Weiant, local representative for several safe manufacturers. Weiant also did vault work and sold bicycles from his shop in the Kitteridge Building. He did not keep the Locomobi1e distributorship long. The May 24, 1900 issue of Cycling West stated that the,Felker Cycle Company, owned by Wi-lliam b. Felker, Jr., had obtained the agency to sell the from his bicycle shop on Stout Street. The eight cars arrived in one boxcar in April, 1900. Dr. G. B. Stone, a local dentist, is rumored to have become the first person in the city to purchase an automobile from a local dealer. Dr. Stone paid $850 cash for the privilege.2 It took Felker two years to dispose of the other seven vehicles. The last two were supposedly raffled by two competing grocery firms. One allegedly went to Grocer E. E. Rost, who sold the winning ticket,3 but Hurlbut's grocery claimed in an advertisement

PAGE 31

26 that they were exclusive distributors of tickets. A ticket was given for each 25 cents' purchase.4 There is some confusion as to who won the other car, but Miss Julia Campbell ended up with the machine, and became a familiar sight on the streets of Denver. It is possible that the Campbell family won the car, as Julia Campbell reported that her father wanted to give it to a local minister, but she wouldn't let him. Other sources say that a poor widow won the car, and later sold it for $600. Miss Campbell soon developed a reputation as a mechanic, and was known to be able to repair any malfunction of the contraption.S Despite the slow start, other bicycle dealers soon joined Felker in selling automobiles along with their bicycles. Ernest R. Cumbe, handling the Jeffery line of bicycles since 1896, began to sell the Rambler when the Jeffery Manufacturing Company began production in 1900. Cumbe was responsible for bringing the first Rambler to Denver.6 George Hannan, in the bicycle and sporting goods business for more than twenty years, took the agency for the Oldsmobile as well as the new Racycle bicycle in 1901. Hannan was going to "push the sales of the 'Oldsmobile' in this city" with all the enthusiasm he previously spent on the bicycle.7 Hannan sold Oldsmobiles to Lawrence Phipps, Sr., and Dean Martyn Hart, among other prominent Denverites. The unreliability of the early automobile created problems for the dealer, especially when the customer had to walk back to town following a breakdown. Phipps

PAGE 32

later traded his aIds for a more reliable Autocar, and later a Mercedes. Other customers at all too frequent intervals ... gathered back at the Hannan establishment to heap ire on the head of defenseless George, accompanied with charges of false representation and all the crimes in the calendar. Mr. Hannan had to explain that they all stopped now and then, that he had walked horne mana a time himself, leaving his car stranded in the country. Breakdowns were not the sole property of the Oldsmobile, 27 however. The newness of the technology made it difficult to keep the automobile in adjustment. "Styles and models were constantly changing, carburetors never seemed to reach adjustment, spark plugs continually fouled," and parts were hard to come by.9 Another bicycle dealer who took on automobiles as a sideline was Tom Botterill. Botterill was the local representative of the George N. Pierce Company. Pierce produced a popular line of bicycles, and Botterill had become associated with the company by 1900. Prior to his involvement with the Pierce company, Botterill had sold bicycles for the Indiana Bicycle Company.10 When Pierce began manufacturing automobiles in 1901, his representative undoubtedly took up the new product as demand warranted.-Botterill did not advertise that he sold automobiles until early 1905, but if one was interested in obtaining a Pierce automobile in Denver, his shop at 1643 California Street was the place to find one. Probiems aside, the automobile was proving to be a pular toy for the citizens of Denver. By 1902, Felker and Hannan were joined by G. W. McClintock selling the Gasmobile at his establishment

PAGE 33

at 1545 Wazee Street, and the Mobile Company of America, owned by John Brisbane Walker, on Glenarm.ll Ernest R. Cumbe sold Toledo steamers and the Rambler from his bicycle shop at 1721 Stout Street, and the Winton line was represented by Webb Jay down the block at 1761 Stout. Sales had improved so much by 1904 that William Felker decided to move from his small storefront at 1764 Stout to larger accommodations built at 1535 Tremont. The new building featured storage and livery service, as well as a first class bicycle repair shop to accommodate the increased bicycle trade. All classes of automobiles would be cared for, not just the ones Felker sold. George Hannan sold .thirty Oldsmobiles in December, 1901 and January, 1902. He planned to expand to Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Boulder, and Ouray to meet the demand for the aIds. Hannan also went into the storage and livery business.12 The Mobile Company was unable to keep up with the sales made by the local manager, Hervey Nichols, Jr. Several car loads were expected to fill orders made by William H. Kistler, G. Albert Wahlgreen, and Alvin B. Daniels, among others. Ernest Cumbe was expecting a delivery of steam vehicles made by the American Bicycle Company "for which he now holds orders." Cumbe was optimistic that the automobile would continue to be popular in Denver, "where the roads, climate, and conditions are always favorable to their use.,,13 The Chicago automobile show in February, 1902 attracted several of the Denver dealers. George Hannan acquired one hundred

PAGE 34

29 Oldsmobiles, a car load of Knoxmobiles, and some National electrics. On his way home, Hannan purchased a touring model built by the St. Louis Motor Carriage Co. Altus T. Wilson purchased a variety of cars to re-sell in Denver. He made deals to sell Darling, Remington, Friedman, Waverly electric cars and the complete line of Motor Vehicle and Truck Company. Ernest R. Cumbe arranged to continue in the Rambler and Toledo lines, and picked up the Auto-Bi, a motorcycle made by the E. R. Thomas Motor Company. Cumbe stated that every Rambler would be supplied with a "complete touring outfit," including "one of the latest French pattern auto-horns, a Veeder odometer, and a pair of large and handsome carriage lamps, all without additional charge." Webb Jay made arrangements for a number of the new line of two cylinder Wintons to be shipped to him. He also attempted to acquire the touring model Winton at the show, having already sold it to Ned Hurlbut of Denver. Jay also arranged for the Columbia Electric ambulance that transported President McKinley after he was assassinated in Buffalo to be displayed at his showroom in Denver. In addition, he obtained a complete line of Columbia and Riker Electrics to sell along with the Winton. Jay was reported to be receiving $200 $400 premiums for fifteen day or less delivery.14 One way to sell cars was to compare them to the competing makes. J. Hervey Nichols, when trying to sell a Mobile to a prospective purchaser, would run over to the Felker Company and stand his Mobile next to a Locomobile. He would then point out the

PAGE 35

30 differences and the merits of his product versus the competition. Felker was allowed the same consideration at the Mobile salesroom.15 Shortly after the Chicago automobile show, a similar show was arranged under the auspices of G. Albert Wahlgreen and Motor Field, with the cooperation of the local dealers. Held in Coliseum Hall at 18th and.Champa Streets on May 12-17, 1902, the show featured many of the makes shown in Chicago. In addition to the automobiles, displays .of tires, lights, and other sundries would be on view.16 The remainder of 1902 and 1903 were quiet for the automobile industry in Denver. One addition was made to the list of dealers in the 1903 Denver Business directory, the Colorado Automobile Company. Located at 1510 Court Place, the company had an ideal location in a large brick building across from courthouse square. Colorado Automobile Company dealt in Cadillac, Pope-Toledo and Baker Electric. Officers of the company included G. W. Wood, president; Alvin B. Daniels, vice-president, and Robert R. "Bert" Hall as secretary. M. Lewis Lindahl served as manager and "Bert" Hall worked as salesman in addition to his duties as secretary. Lindahl later became associated with the Western Motor Car Company in Los Angeles.17 The summer of 1904 was a good one for the Denver dealers. Sales were "made as fast as cars have been received, the only complaint being that some of the dealers were unable to secure cars at the time they were promised." the Colorado Automobile Company sent John Carlson, one of their agents, on a trip through western and southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in a Cadillac for the

PAGE 36

"purpose of selling cars of that make." President George Wood reported that Carlson was successful in his endeavor, and several sales were made. 31 Ernest R. Cumbe sold a Rambler car to the Weiner Wine Company, one of a string of sales made. The Rambler agency "has made an excellent record again this year." Oldsmobile, sold by George Hannan, was the favored make for at least twenty people "in Denver and neighborhood this season," according to Linn Mathewson, Hannan's sales manager. Colorado Motor Carriage Company, "which has the White agency, has recently sold cars to David H. Moffat and Ernest A. Colburn, two of Colorado's wealthiest men." The company was experiencing some success selling Grout cars as well.18 In July or August 1904, Linn Mathewson, long time manager for George Hannan, decided to strike out on his own. Mathewson secured the agency for the Queen automobile and set up shop at 1420-22 Court Place. Mathewson was president, and Fred W. Bailey was secretary and treasurer. The Queen was a small-; one cylinder automobile made by the Blomstrom Motor Company in Detroit, but it was a popular make in Denver. Mathewson reported several sales in his first weeks in business, including a sale to Dr. L. E. Lemen of the Denver School Board.19 In January of the next year, Mathewson picked up the Denver agency for Reo and Thomas. Shortly thereafter, he showed the first of the 1905 Thomas line to be shown in Denver. Made by the E. R. Thomas Motor Company of Buffalo, New York, the car was a big 40 horsepower car available in a number of different body styles. Soon

PAGE 37

32 after picking up Reo and Thomas, Mathewson began to sell the Moline. Moline cars were "just simple, substantial and durable cars, built to give satisfaction.,,20 At about the same time, the Colburn family was organizing the Antlers Automobile Company at 15th and West Colfax. The Colburns had been involved in the beginnings of the automobile sales industry in Colorado Springs, and had moved to Denver to pursue the business in the big city. Ernest A. Colburn had come to Denver in 1902, and had embraced the mining industry. Ernest Colburn was later listed in the Denver Business Directory as a-lawyer. When the family opened the motor car business, Ernest Colburn became the secretary of the company. His brother Herbert was listed as president. Later listings in the business directory show E. A. Colburn as manager and Herbert C. Colburn as salesman. The Colburns also managed to lure Edward W. Swanbrough to their company from E. R. Cumbe to help sell the company's line of Ford and Royal Tourist cars.21 Over on Tremont Street, business was good for the Felker Automobile Company. Felker, now selling Peerless, Winton, and Autocar, purchased two lots next to his store. On the back part of these lots was located a roller skating rink that Felker was already occupying. By removing a wall, Felker was able to increase his floor space to an area totaling 175 by 50 feet.22 Sales were brisk through the last part of the summer. Dr. F. L. Bartlett, president of the Colorado Automobile Club, purchased a four cylinder Moline from the Mathewson Automobile

PAGE 38

33 Company. George Snyder purchased a similar vehicle the month before. Mathewson was expecting his first shipment of 1906 Reo motor cars about September 20. Mathewson made the news when he reduced the time to drive to Boulder from Denver, a distance of thirty-one miles. He did it in fifty-nine minutes on an errand of mercy. The daughter of C. W. Knox of Boulder was gravely ill, and Mr. Knox was in Denver. Mathewson took a Reo car and delivered Mr. Knox to his daughter's bedside without accident. The Felker Automobile Company enjoyed a double sale when Eben Smith, a Colorado mining millionaire, came to their showroom. Smith, who "spends much of his time on the Pacific coast," purchased two Stevens-Duryea machines. One was intended for use in Denver, the other in Los Angeles. The vehicles, costing $2,725 each, "are the best machines of their type made. ,,23 George Hannan also had a good summer. He sold a thirty horsepower Yale to Charles K. Whitehead of the Shearson-Hammill brokerage firm. Whitehead immediately took the car to the Overland racetrack and turned in a time of 1:09 for the mile. He then proclaimed the big Yale to be "the best now in use in the city." Several others purchased more modest sixteen horsepower models of the yale.24 Business was good enough at the Antlers establishment that it was decided to expand. Plans were made for an addition to the existing building at Fifteenth and Colfax. Upon completion, the garage would have a total of ten thousand square feet, and was to "be

PAGE 39

fitted up with the most modern of conveniences, among them a turntable" for easier storage of customers' cars. When complete, the garage would be the "largest in the West." Ground was broken in late October and completion was slated for December first.25 The new garage was to have a large frontage of plate glass. There would be 125 feet on Fifteenth Street, and 175 feet on West Colfax. The purpose for the glass frontage was for "samples of all makes of machines for which the company has the agency" to be exhibited. Construction delays pushed the completion date for the large two story building to about January 15, 1906.26 In September, 1905, Charles Bilz secured "the entire charge of the automobile agency and garage formerly conducted by the Colorado Motor Carriage Company." The new 1906 model Franklin and Packard cars were expected in early october. Bilz was still waiting at the end of October. Two car loads of Franklin touring cars were expected November' first, and the first shipment of 1906 Packard cars was anticipated November fifteenth.27 William B. Felker decided to expand his business again in November, 1905. He purchased the two lots adjoining his garage on Tremont Street, and announced plans to build a fifteen thousand dollar addition. The main office and salesroom would be in the addition. The old building would be given over to repair and garaging facilities. Future plans included a "large and Handsome" building on the property with the entire lower floor given over to the salesroom.28

PAGE 40

35 Also in November, the Antlers Company sold a White car to Edwin Gaylord. Gaylord, a "prominent Denver horseman" and well known gambler, was lambasted for giving in to the desire to purchase an automobile to replace his horse. The reply was that "he did not say that he would never ride a horse again, but wi,ll use the car for transportation." Gaylord did state that he would continue using his horse for racing.29 Prior to moving into their new building, the Colburns decided to consolidate their various agencies into one company. Accordingly, the new company became known as the Colburn Automobile Company. The company would handle White, Locomobile, Royal Tourist, and the Pope-Waverly Electric line.30 Along with the Colburn Company, two other dealers moved into new buildings in January, 1906. The Mathewson Automobile Company moved to its new quarters at 1624-28 Broadway. The building was 50 by 125 feet, and "of fire-proof construction." Stock room, repair shop, and general offices were located on the second floor. The company also had facilities for charging electric vehicles and gasoline sales. The newly established Reo Company moved next door to 1634 when Mathewson moved out.31 The new year brought forth other announcements from the dealers. Charles Bilz announced that he had "signed contracts for a continuance of the Packard, Franklin, and Buick agencies in the state of Colorado for 1906." The Studebaker Company of South Bend, Indiana, entered the automobile market in Denver. The company had been in the wagon and carriage business in town for many years, and

PAGE 41

36 decided that it could also find a market for its horseless carriages as well. R. R. Hall purchased the entire stock of the Colorado Automobile Company and became the sole proprietor. Local electric car manufacturer Oliver Fritchie added a new line to his company also. He became the distributor for the Woods Electric, a "substantially built" car. George Herring sold his business to W. H. Gray in December, 1905. The new company would be known as the Gray Automobile Company, and would occupy Herring's location at 1548 Broadway until a larger garage could be built. Herring remained in the employ of the new company. Linn Mathewson signed a contract to obtain the Oldsmobile agency in the Rocky Mountain District.32 New cars were arriving daily, and some dealers were out of space to store them. J. Hervey Nichols completed construction on an addition to his garage, giving him an additional 675 square feet. The addition was fifteen by forty-five feet in dimension; and included large glass windows and a skylight. The addition allowed Nichols to increase his force of mechanics to twelve men. C. M. Wood, selling the Stoddard-Dayton, decided to move his offices from Court Place to the Gray Garage at 1548 Broadway. Wood was to move his stock from the Colburn garage to new quarters in the Gray establishment as well. The reason given was that he would have more room. 33 The next month, the Fernald Automobile Company also moved to the Gray establishment. Fernald, selling the Maxwell, was going to share offices with the Stoddard-Dayton dealer. He found that he

PAGE 42

37 was "becoming badly cramped for room" at his former location in the hannan-Shearer garage. Fernald felt that he would have "all the space necessary" in his new location.34 At the same time, Linn Mathewson was negotiating for the purchase of the two lots adjoining his establishment on Broadway. Mathewson's plans were to double his present space with a new building on the two lots. The company was becoming cramped in its quarters, and was expecting a new consignment of ten Columbia Electrics. The addition was planned "in order that next summer's trade may find the company with plenty of room to handle its cars.,,35 October saw the S. C. Shearer Automobile Company move into its new building at 1650-54 Glenarm Street. The building was modern, up-to-date, and reputed to be completely fireproof. Located across from the Denver Automobile Club, the company offered complete repair service to its customers, the shop being equipped with the latest machinery. "A compressed air for filling tires was also installed. 36 the Colburn Automobile Company announced its plans to produce a car especially designed for high altitudes. In October, 1906, the prototype was nearing completion in the Colburn shops. The car -was to be equipped with a big radiator to overcome the cooling problems found in the high country and a specially designed carburetor. The car was to weigh 2,300 pounds and was expected to sell for $3,250.37. The coming of the new year brought out predictions for the new automQbiling season and statistics for the last year. According

PAGE 43

38 to Motor Field, "the seventeen agents in Denver, representing 45 different makes of automobiles sold to residents of this city 560 cars, aggregating in value $1,065,500." Dealers sold an additional 175 vehicles to customers residing outside of Denver, and a grand total of 748 cars sold in 1906. The dealers were optimistic for an even better year in 1907. J. Hervey Nichols, "the Winton man," predicted "the trade (will) improve rapidly, for by location Denver is the greatest distributing center in the Great West." Ernest A. Colburn echoed those sentiments, adding that "orders for new cars indicate a brisker trade than during any. previous season." Ernest R. Cumbe agreed, noting that he was building a large, new garage and repair shop to meet demand. Samuel C. Shearer, Altus T. Wilson, and Tom Botterill all voiced similar feelings when asked for cornrnent. 38 The MacFarland-Powell Auto Company opened its new garage at 1618 Glenarm Street in late April 1907. Dealing in both Pope Hartford automobiles and Babcock e1ectrics, the company occupied a "substantial brick building, attractively designed and well lighted." The main floor covered an area of 130 by 50 feet and contained space for storage of customer's cars and demonstration automobiles. The repair shop consisted of two stories of an area twenty by fifty feet. General repairs were carried out on the first floor and bench work on the second. The second floor also contained a lounge for "convenience of chauffeurs who may be forced to wait downtown for theatre or dinner parties.,,39

PAGE 44

Finlay MacFarland entered the automotive business "almost against his will."He found that an investment in the business required some amount of personal involvement. Together with Fred Powell as partner and manager, MacFarland opened his shop. The company later took on the Packard and Buick lines and became "an outfit which has strewn Buicks so thickly up and down the Rocky Mountain region that they're almost merged with the scenery." 39 Business continued pretty much as usual through the fall of 1907. George Fernald placed an order for 215 1908 Maxwell-Briscoe cars to be sold in the next year throughout Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Tom Botterill secured the agency for the Babcock Electric from MacFarland-Powell. The Babcocks were to be sold in Denver "where there is a brisk demand for electrics." Botterill also sold the Babcock in his Salt Lake City dealership. Charles Bilz sponsored a "Franklin Night" for the owners of Franklin automobiles in the city. Bilz, the Franklin agent, sent invitations to everyone he had sold Franklins to. Fifty people attended. Held at the Albany Hotel, the dinner had an automobile theme, with a Franklin touring car in the lobby, and floral automobiles for centerpieces. Bilz had recently lost the Packard agency to the MacFarland-Powell concern, and MacFarland-Powell wasted no time in exploiting this coup. Before the year's end, they had managed to sell one of the expensive machines to Mr. Fred Bailey, of the Mathewson Company, E. W. Swanbrough, who had left the Nichols Automobile Company to manage the Pacific Coast Automobile Company in

PAGE 45

Seattle, Washington, returned to Denver to manage the new sales division of the Denver Omnibus and Cab Company, selling Blomstrom "30", Pennsylvania "50" and Detroit Electric cars.41 40 In 1908, the Studebaker Automobile Company was located at 1536-1540 Broadway. The company advertised that they were "manufacturers of all styles of automobiles, electric pleasure vehicles five styles, business electrics 800 pounds to 10,000 pounds capacity. The company's local business was looked after by a regional manager, and not a local agent.42 In 1910, the company changed its name, and became known as the Studebaker Colorado Vehicle Company. With the change in name, the company moved to a new location at 1515-1521 Cheyenne Place. Studebaker still advertised that they were "manufacturers of gasoline automobiles, electric business and pleasure vehicles. ,,43 1909 was a year for new dealers to appear in Denver. In January, a new Ford dealership opened at 1552 Broadway. Charles Hendee was manager. The Pike's Peak Motor Company opened at 1521 Cheyenne Place. The company, under the direction of jay D. Hollingshead, would deal in the Stearns automobile.44 In May, the White Stearn Car interest was taken over by the Denver Automobile Repair Company. The agency was managed by John A. Wahlgreen.45 September, 1909 had several changes. Linn Mathewson recovered the Reo dealership from the Reo Automobile Company. The Denver Motor Car Company picked up the Apperson agency to go along with Overland and Baker. Herbert Havens was doing so well with Dorris, Lambert and Commercial that he had to expand his quarters at

PAGE 46

1620 Wazee. Havens and his brother also conducted a manufacturing business at the same address.46 41 In November, Altus T. Wilson took delivery of the first of his new line. Wilson was taking on the "black Crow," built by the Elkhart Motor Car Company of Elkhart, Indiana. The Broadway Motor Company opened its doors at 743 Broadway, with the Pullman car. The first two cars, intended to be demonstrators, were sold immediately upon arrival. At about the same time, the Denver Motor Car Company was succeeded by the Overland Motor Car Company. The company took over the Winton Line from J. Hervey Nichols as well as dealing in Overland and Baker automobiles.47 In anticipation of the new season, many agencies made changes for 1910. Brinker-Vreeland continued with the Rauch and Lang Electric, but the name was changed to Vreeland Automobile Company. The Mathewson Company added Oakland to its stable, joining Thomas, Reo and Columbus. The Studebaker Company moved into new quarters on Cheyenne Place between 15th and 16th Streets. The old location at 1532-38 Broadway would be occupied after remodeling by the Krebs-Covington Company, representing Haynes and Detroit Electric.48 Some new agencies appeared on the scene as well. Ingraham Automobile Company opened its doors at 849 Broadway with the local distributorship for the Lane steam car. Johnson-Fletcher Motor Sales Company, 1435-39 Cleveland Place, took on the Everett. The company later added Peerless, Premier, and Fal-Car to their stock. Alfred DeGaston, a well known and admired race driver and mechanic, secured

PAGE 47

42 the agency for the popular Knox line. DeGas ton also ran an "autohire station" from his headquarters at 1333 Broadway. Sharing quarters with DeGaston in the Central Motor Garage were Walter Newson, the new White Agent, and W. E. Gibson, who replaced the Pikes Peak Motor Company as representative for the F. B. Stearns Company of Cleveland, Ohio. Edward W. Swanbrough, who had returned from Seattle to run the Denver Omnibus Company's sales department, decided to open his own dealership and secured the agency for Hupmobile. His offices were at 1622 Court Place.49 By 1910, the automobile had become rather commonplace on the streets of Denver. It had ceased to be quite as newsworthy as in 1900. Indeed, even the newspapers were using the automobile not only to deliver the papers, but also to gather the news. No longer was it important to know who had gone out and foolishly squandered his money on one of the infernal machines. Chances were that your neighbor had one, perhaps even a relative was using an automobile. As the automobile became accepted, competition for customers grew. The dealerships no longer could simply rent space, purchase a demonstrator, and take orders. Their showrooms could not be simply a corner of the bicycle shop or garage. The opulent showrooms of the 1920's had not appeared, but by 1910, the trend was being established. Early all-auto dealerships maintained a garage for storage of customer's vehicles, repairs, and if any space remained, their stock. A customer coming into one of these establishments would find all manner of vehicles, and would inspect them in the garage. If he was interested, he would arrange a

PAGE 48

demonstration. A purchase might be finalized in the proprietor's office off the garage. Perhaps the first dealer in Denver to recognize the need for more formal surroundings was W. B. Felker when he built his new building on Tremont Street. Included in the building was an area where the customer could inspect the product without going into the garage proper. The Colburns also recognized the need to separate the sales business from the garage. In their new building, they provided for a large window area on both 15th Street and Colfax where their products could be seen by the general public. The sales rooms were simple, however. Photographs in Motor Field and other publications indicate that the customer walked into a large, rather plain room that had an example or two of the company's product. Photographs of the local Stoddard-Dayton agency in Motor Field show a fairly small space with a pair of cars in the middle. A large desk and table are also visible in the corner. Evidently, business was transacted right in the showroom. The exterior of the agency shows the showroom windows with two cars visible, flanked on either side by doors wide enough to allow a motor car access to the rear of the building. A photograph of the Denver Omnibus and Cab Company's sales roo'm shows two lines of cars facing each other separated by an aisle. The room is apparently unadorned except for the automobiles. If the prospective customer was further interested, the salesman then escorted him into the garage where the demonstrator

PAGE 49

44 vehicles were stored. A vehicle was taken out and the customer taught to operate the automobile. If a sale was consummated, the customer often had to wait several week to obtain delivery, if the desired vehicle had to be delivered from the factory. Competition also required the dealers to group together. Initially starting out in many parts of the downtown business district, they found that more customers could be attracted if they could walk down a street and view several makes with relative ease. Increasing rents in the downtown area made it desirable to move to the outskirts of the district as well. In 1909, when a certain dealer (Hannan) made the bold move from an address on Welton Street to Broadway, his Trade friends looked on aghast. That dealer plunked down $8,000 for a pair of lots which he insists he could sell today (1917) for $25,000. Dealer after dealer caught the idea and fled the downtown district with its limited room and high rents.50 Broadway was referred to as "automobile row" in Denver's newspapers as early as February 1909. At least ten dealers had moved to Broadway, with addresses ranging from the 1200 block through the 2000 block. A photograph taken of the Mathewson Building in 1909 shows the Regal and Chalmers-Detroit agencies on one side and the Tobin Company on the other. Ford, Knox, Kissel, and White, among others, could be found on Broadway. Others, such as Stoddard-Dayton and Colburn, had addresses just off Broadway. The growth in popularity of the automobile cannot be denied. When the City of Denver began to require the registration of motor vehicles used in the city in 1906, 375 cars were registered. The next year, licensing had almost doubled to 723. By 1909, the

PAGE 50

number had grown to four thousand. In ten years, the entire life style of Denver had changed.51 Prior to the arrival of David Brunton's electric, the citizens of Denver relied on the well established streetcar system, horses, and their feet to get about town. Ten years later, not only were there more than four thousand horseless vehicles in the city, there existed at least two successful firms making cars. The commercial possibilities of selling the automobile grew perhaps more quickly than did its acceptance. With one dealer needing two years to dispose of eight cars, it did not seem that the automobile was going to be a hot item in Denver. The Denver Business Directory did not even have a heading for automobiles until 1902, when it listed eight dealers. By 1905, there were twelve dealers listed under automobiles, while fourteen dealers representing twentythree different makes had booths at the annual auto show. Five years later, the number had grown to twenty dealers listed in the directory. That number was also represented at the annual auto show, with thirty-nine different makes represented.52 The automobile business was not an easy one, however. Some companies did not last long enough to be listed in the business directory. Others changed agencies and did not handle the cars listed. Some were not listed, even though they had been in business for several years. Companies reorganized, changed hands or merged, making the trail of the automobile dealer an elusive one. Complicating matters was the fact that the factories renegotiated

PAGE 51

agency contracts frequently, and seem to have been able to change local agents at will.53 46 Even though surviving in the automobile business was not easy, getting started was fairly simple. One simply obtained the agency for the desired automobile, put out a few ads, and took orders. In 1906, a gentleman named W. W. Barnett did just that. He leased a building at Colfax and Broadway. He then spent about fifteen hundred dollars to buy a demonstrator from the Stoddard Dayton Company, and began to take orders. Deliveries were then made as soon as the factory could ship the cars, often several months.54 The dealers in Denver, faced with a iimited supply, and an increasing demand, could often sell their products at prices well above suggested retail. Premiums of up to four hundred dollars were offered for quick delivery by 1902. Delays in delivery coptinued, depending on the reputation of the dealer with the manufacturer. If the dealer was a big purchaser, the factories seemed to be able to supply cars on a more regular basis. For the most part, through at least 1908, dealers "considered it the height of good business to keep patrons waiting anywhere from three to six months for their cars. ,,55 Regardless of the business problems associated with the automobile, Denverites wanted to own the contraption. Some were willing to spend several thousands of dollars to own the best. Others had to be content with an old, second hand machine that had seen better days. Some even built their own cars. Soon the city was swamped with vehicles of all kinds. Denverites were no longer

PAGE 52

47 dependent on train or horse for extended travel. One could simply climb into his macpine and motor off to his destination without consideration for schedules. Often the time needed to drive was less than the time needed to travel to the same destination by train. The automobile was here to stay, and the residents. of Denver came to welcome it with open arms.

PAGE 53

NOTES--CHAPTER #4 1. In print, and even in the City Directories, Albert Wah1green's name appears spelled Wahl green and Wahlgren. For the sake of consistency, his name is spelled Wah1green in this paper. 2. Dawson "Scrapbook," Volume 36, 343. Colorado Historical Society. 3. Ibid. 4. Denver Times, February 2, 1902. 5. Denver Post, November 16, 1902. 6. Motor Field, March, 1910, 46. 7. Cycling West and Motor Field, June, 1901, 14. 8. Dawson "Scrapbook," Volume 46, 463. Colorado Historical Society. 9. Ibid. 10. Denver Business Directory, 1895, 1900. 11. Walker listed himself as the Western manager of the company, but the local representative was J. Hervey Nichols. 12. Cycling West and Motor Field, January 1902, 19. 13. Ibid. 14. Cycling West and Motor Field, March, 1902, 25. 15. Motor Field, April, 1908, 64. 16. Denver Times, April 22, 1902. 17. Motor Field, January, 1905, 27. 18. Motor Field, July, 1904, 10. 19. Motor Field, September, 1904, 30. 20. Motor Field, April, 1905, 11. 21. Motor Field, January 1905, 18. 22. Motor Field, October, 1904, 5. 23. Motor Field, October, 1905, 32.

PAGE 54

49 24. Ibid. 25. Motor Field, November, 1905, 10. 26. Motor Field, December, 1905, 22. 27. Motor Field, November, 1905, 50. 28. Motor Field, December, 1905, 42. 29. Ibid. 56. 30. Motor Field, February, 1906, 77. 31. Motor Field, March, 1906, 45. 32. Motor Field, January, 1906, 27. 33. Motor Field, May, 1906, 64. 34. Motor Field, June, 1906, 48. 35. Ibid. 36. Motor Field, November, 1906, 40. 37. Ibid. 44. 38. Motor Field, January, 1907, 43. 39. Motor Field, May, 1907, 29. 40. Dawson "Scrapbook," Volume 46, 463. Historical Society. 41. Motor Field, January, 1908, 54. 42. Denver City Directory, 1908. 43. Denver City Directory, 1910. 44. Motor Field, January, 1909, 85. 45. Motor Field, June, 1909, 97. 46. Motor Field, October, 1909, 102. 47. Motor Field, December, 1909, 80. 48. Motor Field, February, 1910, 70. 49. Ibid. 68.

PAGE 55

50 50. Dawson "Scrapbook," Volume 46, 463. Colorado Historical Society. 51. Motor Field, February, 1909, 37. 52. Today, the Denver metro area is serviced by more than one hundred dealerships, representing 35 or more different makes. The related business: tires, parts, repairs and service, etc., have grown at an even more phenomenal rate. Service was not even listed in the Denver Business Directory until 1902. In 1989, the sundry auto related business rate 128 pages in the Denver Yellow Pages. Used car lots are almost too numerous to count, but the first dealer to specialize in used cars was not listed in the Denver Business Directory until 1908. 53. These early figures are not entirely accurate. Some companies are not listed in the Business Directory although they had been in business for a number of years. The. Felkex Company is an example. The company is not listed under dealers from 1907 through 1910, although they still did a good business on Tremont Street. Earlier, Felker had seen fit not to participate in the annual shows, but was listed in the directory. Other companies did not last long enough to be listed in the Business Directory, but did take part in a show. The same applies to the dealers of today. Some have changed names several times, others change makes, and some have simply gone out of business. Caution is warranted in using sources like business directories and telephone books in tracing volatile industries like the automobile business. 54. Dawson "Scrapbook," Volume 46, 463. Colorado Historical Society. 55. Ibid.

PAGE 56

51 CHAPTER FIVE DENVER'S AUTOMOBILE SHOWS The nation's budding interest in the automobile soon grew to a desire to see the machine. By 1896, bicycle periodicals such as Cycling West began to discuss the possibility of including the automobile in bicycle shows. The favorable response to the inclusion led to the first all automobile show in Madison Square Garden in New York City November 3-10, 1900. The popularity of these shows made them an institution by 1905.1 Denver's first automobile show was held the week of February 20, 1899. It was to be part of the bicycle show, and also included motorcycles. The show would be the "first chance the curious good people of the city have had to investigate for themselves the horseless wonder." The automobiles were all from the American Electrical Vehicle Co. of Chicago and were shown by Mr. A. H. Gilbert, the secretary of that company. One-third of the exhibition hall, a space measuring sixty by one hundred feet, was given over to the autos and they were "stellar attractions.,,2 The vehicles were driven about the city, and about their allotted space at the exhibition. Speeds were alleged to be fifteen miles per hour. The Denver Times, on February 21, 1899, reported that: two wagons, operated by electricity, turned and backed in the limited space assigned to them, and made every

PAGE 57

spectator foresee the probable finish of the prince of animals, the horse. The first all automobile show in Colorado was held in 52 Denver's Coliseum Hall May 12, 1902. It was reputed to be the first west of Chicago and included many varieties of automobile, including: Rambler, Mobile, Baker, Oldsmobile, Studebaker, and Columbia. The show was sponsored by Cycling West and local dealers. A feature of the show would be demonstration rides and parades. An advertised attraction would be a giant, three thousand pound racing machine of fifty horsepower. This likely was the giant Winton ordered by George W. Wood of Denver. The machine was a duplicate of the Winton factory racer "The Bullet." The car was reputed to cost in the neighborhood of five thousand dollars. Wood purchased the car for out of town excursions, as he felt it was too big and powerful to operate in the city.3 Coliseum Hall was to be "elaborately decorated" and parades were scheduled during the show's run. Also featured were "sundries, supplies, and novelties" from eastern manufacturers.4 The "best orchestra in the city" was engaged to play at the show, and the "numbers of the program prepared with great care."S Those members of Denver's society who had an interest in automobiling looked forward to the arrival of the annual automobile show held April 12-15, 1905. The local dealers also anticipated the show, but for somewhat different reasons. Denver "always has been a very rabid automobile city," and the various agencies planned to capitalize on the fact. Plans were made to accommodate out-of-town visitors, and turn them into customers. Indeed, some out-of-towners

PAGE 58

53 contacted various dealers and advised that they were coming to town for the purpose of selecting an automobile.6 Opening night was as grand as any theatre opening. Mayor Robert W. Speer and his wife were present, as were other state and city officials. An orchestra under the guidance of Senor Raffaello Cavallo entertained the spectators throughout the show. The dealers of the city went to great lengths to make the show a success. Their booths were elaborate and "several of them compared favorably with those at the New York and Chicago shows." Among those entered in the show were the Antlers Automobile Company, with the "first complete display of 1905 Ford cars made in the West." The display consisted of both two and four cylinder models, and all were finished in "dark green and yellow, the familiar Ford colors." The Antlers Company had recently moved into their new building at 45-51 West Colfax. The building was "strictly fire proof" and included a pressed steel ceiling. A complete repair department was included for those in need of service. Next to the Antlers display was that of E. A. Colburn, who was sharing garage space with the Antlers Company. Colburn had on display cars of both the White and Locomobile lines. Both the cars shown were entered in the upcoming Pike's Peak climb, and as such attracted a great amount of attention. Ernest R. Cumbe displayed two examples of the Rambler line. Both the 8 horsepower runabout and the 18 horsepower touring car attracted attention. Finished in Rambler Green with red trim, the

PAGE 59

54 cars brought in a number of orders at the show, as well as "a large number of prospects." The Nichols Automobile Company, 1640 Broadway, displayed only one model out of the five different Winton cars available. Despite the limited display, the proprietor, J. Hervey Nichols, was busy. Nichols had on display a chassis of the Winton in addition to the complete car, and consequently "the various claims of the 1905 Winton" could be shown to prospective customers. Several sales were made, including an order for a large 24-30 model limousine. Colorado Automobile Company, 1510 Court Place, had examples of each of their lines. Cadillac, Pope-Toledo, and the Baker Electric were all on display. Manager "Bert" Hall kept demonstration models of the three makes on hand outside the hall, and salesmen were kept busy giving rides. A number of sales were reported to have been made in this way. Elmore and Packard automobiles were shown at the booth of the Colorado Motor Carriage Company. proprietor Charles Bilz reported several sales, and also managed to rent out part of his building at 1432-38 Court Place to the new agents for Oldsmobile. The Oldsmobile agency, previously held by George Hannan, was secured by the Minneapolis firm of Winston and Walker, who had the Locomobi1e and Columbia agencies in that city. Bilz probably had room in his garage for Oldsmobile due to his recent loss of the White agency to E. A. Colburn. Altus T. Wilson, 1558 Broadway, had a large area in which he displayed four different makes. The four cylinder, sixteen

PAGE 60

55 horsepower Marion; three cylinder, twelve and fifteen horsepower Cameron; one cylinder, eight horsepower Gale; and Royal Electric cars were shown to good advantage. Wilson developed several good prospects for sales. The Mathewson Automobile Company had one of the busiest booths at the show. The Queen was proving to be a popular automobile. Also attracting attention at the Mathewson exhibit was the first two cylinder, sixteen horsepower Reo to be shown in the West. A four cylinder, twenty horsepower Moline and a large Thomas Flyer rounded out the Mathewson display. George Hannan did not seem to be lamenting his loss of the Oldsmobile agency. He was busy showing off the Yale and Michigan cars that he was dealing in. These smaller cars of 14-16 horsepower proved to be popular, and Hannan reported several sales. Another popular booth was that of the George N. Pierce Company. Local manager Tom Botteri11 had three cars of various size on display. Botteri11 sold his entire stock of automobiles at the show. Other displays of automobiles included that of Brown and Beck, with the Orient Buckboard and Flint and Lomax, a Denver company that displayed the prototype of the F1int10, soon to be built in Denver. Wayne automobiles were exhibited by the Automobile Livery and Repair Company, 1551-53 Tremont Street. Conspicuously absent was the Felker Automobile Company. To say that the automobile had become popular in Denver by 1905 would be an understatement. Sales at the Automobile Show in

PAGE 61

56 April were placed at between $250,000 and $500,000. The dealers, and everyone else involved in the show were "astonished at the large number of sales made." Since the year had gotten off to such a good start, it was expected that the rest of the year would be as good.7 One response to the number of sales was the establishment of service departments in the dealerships. The trend had begun as early as 1902 and was firmly established by the end of 1905.8 Spring, 1906 brought the Denver automobile scene back to life, as far as the dealers were concerned. The third annual auto show opened in a drenching rain April 18, 1906. News of the show, one of Denver's social events, was overshadowed by word of the great earthquake in San Francisco. In spite of the tragic news from the West Coast, the show was considered a great success. All of the major dealers, again with the exception of the Felker Company, were represented and reported a number of sales. New dealers included C. M. Wood with Stoddard-Dayton, and local manufacturer Oliver P. Fritchle with a collection of electric runabouts made on Clarkson Street.9 The fourth annual automobile show was held April 11-13, 1907. As usual, most of the local agents made plans to have their products displayed. The show had become such a popular event that it was decided to hire an interior decorator to appropriately decorate the hall. Cavallo's orchestra was again engaged to entertain the visitors, and a number of makes were available outside for demonstration purposes. The list of exhibitors included most of the established dealers in town, and some of the new ones as well. The

PAGE 62

Western Auto Company, representing the Wayne, and Stanley Webster, the new distributor for Moline, were present, as were several motorcycle dealers. Also present were booths for Motor Field, represented by the publisher G. A. Wah1green, and Fireman's Fund Insurance Company of San Francisco.10 57 Preparations for the 1908 automobile show began in December, 1907. The site was moved uptown to Capitol Hill. The show would be held in the new Mammoth skating rink. As usual, the show was promoted by G. A. Wah1green and the local dealer's association. Moving to the Mammoth rink doubled the available space over the previous location at Coliseum Hall. The Mammoth rink, completed in September, 1907, at a reported cost of $100,000, covers a space of 240 by 145 feet, and contains more than thirty thousand square feet. The decorations were left to the hands of Alfred C. Barker, who also was responsible for the decorations of the previous show.ll The list of exhibitors consisted of twenty-five dealers on the main floor and eighteen accessory exhibits in the gallery. The dealers included many of the original agents such as Mathewson, Bilz, and Botteri11, as well as some who had changed agencies. George Herring now sold Stanley steamers, A. T. Wilson lost Ford and picked up Wayne from the defunct Western Auto Company, and George Fernald now handled the Maxwell-Briscoe line exclusively. New agencies included Chicago Automobile Company, 1333 Broadway, with Locomobi1e; Tobin Motor Car Company, 1620 Broadway, Peerless and Fritch1e; Denver Motor Car Company, 1618-20 Court Place, succeeding the Smith Automobile Company with Great Smith and Carter;

PAGE 63

58 Donaldson Motor Car Company, 1448-52 Glenarm Street, Gaeth, Cameron and Regal; F. A. Trinkle, 1374 Broadway, Brush; and Covington Motor Car Company, 15th and Cleveland Place, Aerocar.12 The sixth annual auto show was held early in 1909. Now under the auspices of the Denver Motor Club, the show opened February 16, 1909, and continued through February 18. The new city auditorium was the site, and most of the available floor space was spoken for by the first of the year. The Denver Aero Club even planned to show an aeroplane in its space in the basement. The established agencies were well represented by Felker, Mathewson, Botterill, Colburn, and Bilz. New companies included Velie, J. K. McDuffie with Chalmers-Detroit, and the Studebaker Company. Charles Hendee was to show seven different models of the new Ford Model "T". Several of the dealers had added to their lines, including Herbert Havens with Dorris and the Vreeland Company with Moon. One person who got into the business as a sideline was Henry R. Griebel, who sold the Speedwell from his home at 1211 East 18th Avenue. Griebel also had a telephone for interested parties to call him. Most of the dealers, if they had telephones, refrained from publishing the numbers in their advertisements.13 Visitors to the show were treated to musical entertainment under the direction of Maestro Gargiulo. The opening of the show would be accompanied by the "Denver Motor Club March" by Garguilo himself. Spectators could visit the booths of twenty-seven different dealers, and numerous sundry suppliers. One could look at 150 different automobiles made by thirty-nine separate manufacturers.IS

PAGE 64

59 The seventh annual auto show was held February 23-26, 1910. For the second time, it was held at the city auditorium, under the auspices of the Denver Motor Club. Nineteen dealers displayed about one hundred cars of various makes. Linn Mathewson also had on display an aeroplane made by his new company. Thirty-nine different automobile manufacturers were represented, including the two local makes, Fritchle and Colburn. Six different electric vehicle manufacturers were represented. In addition to the nineteen local agents, thirty-nine accessory dealers were present, hawking anything from tires to insurance. Entertainment was provided by Gargiulo's Famous Concert Band. The opening selection on Wednesday afternoon was once again Garguilo's "Motor Club March." Other original Garguilo works were scattered throughout the rest of the programs.1S The growth of the popularity of the auto shows demonstrates the increasing acceptance of the automobile in Denver. The early shows attracted some attention because of the novelty of the machine. Later, as motoring became more accepted, the shows became a social event as well as a way for the local dealers to display their products. In the first decade of the new century, the automobile was, by nature of its expense, a toy of the wealthy class. This did not stop the working classes from having an interest in seeing the new models every year, and perhaps dreaming of one day owning one of the flashy toys seen "scorching" through town. This dream would become possible as owners tired of their cars and disposed of them, often at bargain prices, in order to make room for a newer, faster automobile.

PAGE 65

NOTES--CHAPTER #5 1. James J. Flink, America Adopts the Automobile. 1895-1910, (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1970), 49. 2. Denver Times, February 19, 1899. 3. Denver Times, October 20, 1902. 4. Denver Times, April 22, 1902. 5. Denver Times, May 4, 1902. 6. Motor Field, April, 1905, 50. 7. Motor Field, May, 1905, 33. 8. Denver Business Directory. 9. Motor Field, May, 1906, 26-30. 10. Motor Field, April, 1907, 27-33. 11. Motor Field, January, 1908, 11-12. 12. Motor Field, April, 1908, 45. 13. Motor Field, January, 1909, 69-79. 14. Ibid. 15. Motor Field, March, 1910, 86-101. 60

PAGE 66

61 CHAPTER SIX DENVER'S AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS The American habit of backyard tinkering was turned towards the automobile in Denver even before the first production autos were shown in 1899. As mentioned earlier, H. H. Carpenter of Denver was alleged to have built an electrically powered vehicle by 1895. An article in Horseless Age described Carpenter's invention in some detail. 1 1899 could be called the year of the automobile in Denver. In that year, not only was the horseless carriage shown to the general public for the first time, but plans for commercial production of the automobile were announced. A local man, J. C. Henry, announced that he had completed financing arrangements to produce and market an automobile that would "outclass all others." The vehicle was to be powered and controlled entirely by electricity. Henry's grandiose plans evidently never materialized, or he elected to produce the automobile elsewhere under another name, as no record of a Henry automobile remains today.2 The first automobile actually recorded as built in Denver was the Temple. Built by Robert Temple at the Temple Machine Company, 1513 Wazee St., the machine was commissioned by E. J. Cabler of Denver. As mentioned earlier, the vehicle was constructed according to plans supplied by Cab1er.3

PAGE 67

62 Work began on the wagon on March 17, 1899, and was completed four months later, July 20, 1899, at a cost of two thousand dollars. The style of the vehicle "is that of a good, heavy road wagon." The Denver Evening Post on July 21, 18.99, described the vehicle in detail: The wagon is as handsome as it is possible to make a vehicle of that nature. Silver leaf, gold, dark red and maroon on the body contrast with the yellow and brown of the solid rubber tired wheels. The gasoline engine is of a ten to twelve horse power. The motor is what is technically known as a hydro-carbon motor, with double cylinder. Two separate engines coupled together in order that if one gets broken the operator can rely on the other. Each of the rear wheels, on which fall ninety percent of the total weight of 2,000 pounds, is driven independently by the agency of a heavy steel chain, the principle being the same as that on a bicycle, with special lubricators. Safety and emergency brakes, so the wagon can be stopped in almost the twinkling of an eye are features, with acetylene lamps for use at night. The operator does not have to move from his seat in guiding the wagon. The body sat on a steel frame, and could accommodate up to fourteen people or an equivalent weight of equipment. The engine was controlled from the seat by means of a small valve and could develop three hundred to one thousand revolutions per minute. This speed would give the wagon a speed of about twenty five miles per hour. The engine was engaged to the wheels by means of levers, one for fast, the other for slow speeds.4 Upon completion of the machine, Cabler announced that he and Mrs. Cabler would depart for the town of Victor, by way of Colorado springs, on a test run of the machine. Apparently, this was not a business trip for Cabler, although he may have visited the mines around Victor.

PAGE 68

63 Accordingly, at dawn on July 21, 1899, Mr. and Mrs. Cabler and Robert Temple (the builder) left Denver Union Depot. Temple and Cabler sat in the front seat at the controls while Mrs. Cabler appropriated the second seat, possibly becoming the first back-seat driver in the city.5 The vehicle traveled up Fifteenth Street at a speed of ten miles an hour. Hills on Broadway were taken with ease, and the party reached Littleton in time for breakfast. The route then followed the tracks of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, evidently driving along service roads that paralleled the tracks, to Palmer Lake and Colorado Springs. 6 Temple and the Cablers failed to reach Colorado Springs that day, having run out of gasoline six miles north of Palmer Lake. Gasoline proved to be difficult to obtain, and a supply was finally sent from Colorado Springs, arriving late Saturday evening. Refueling completed, the expedition started out again and finally reached Colorado Springs at four o'clock in the afternoon of Sunday, July 23.7 Upon arrival, in Colorado Springs, Temple and Cabler gave rides to the staff of the Colorado Springs Gazette. Motoring about the town, they attracted large crowds that proceeded to follow the machine. The Gazette reported that the trip was to prove that the automobile could compete favorably with those built in the East.8 After the demonstration rides were over, the machine was parked outside the Kentucky Livery Stables and the passengers stayed at the Spaulding Hotel. The next day, Temple returned to Denver,

PAGE 69

64 having announced that he could build anyone an automobile costing anywhere from eighty to two thousand do11ars.9 The Cab1ers proceeded to make the attempt to reach Victor, presumably with an adequate supply of gasoline. By ten thirty that morning they had reached Ute Park, well above the steep climbs between Manitou and Cascade. Somewhere between Ute Park and Victor, the machine reportedly became stuck in a "bad sand patch."lO The Cab1ers finally reached Victor on the evening of Wednesday, July 26, and several days were spent motoring through the area.ll Robert Temple evidently did not find any takers for his offer to build motor cars. If he did, he managed to avoid publicity like that surrounding construction of the Cabler machine. Not until 1905 did another report of a locally built automobile appear. The automobile show in April, 1905, featured the chassis of a new car produced in Denver. The F1int10, a project undertaken by the firm of Flint and Lomax, was shown in an unfinished condition at the show to see if there was sufficient interest to warrant production. Enough interest was evident at the show for the company to finish the prototype and road test the car. Motor Field, in May, 1905, reported that if road trials went as expected, the F1int1o would be produced on a "large scale." The car was described as a "light, side door tonneau." The car was powered by a four cylinder, air cooled engine of 3 3/4 inch bore and 4 1/2 inch stroke. The cylinders were of one-eighth inch steel tubing with copper radiating flanges pressed on. The car

PAGE 70

65 carried fifteen gallons of gasoline under the seat. Ignition was of Jump spark type fed through a "rotating commutator." The Flintlo had three speeds forward and three reverse. The clutch was a multiple disc type actuated by either the brake or a separate foot lever. Transmission gears engaged from the face of the gear instead of the more common method of engaging from the ends. Electricity for ignition was supplied by a Fritchle storage battery. The whole car weighed in at about twelve hundred pounds.12 Evidently, road tests did not prove too satisfactory. The company did not produce a car other than the prototype, and no further mention is made of the project until April of 1906. Motor Field mentions the car as having been shown at the auto show "last year. ,,13 The last mention of the Flintlo was found in the same article as the only mention of the "Havens" automobile. Local machinist and Lambert dealer Herbert Havens was planning to build automobiles in his shop at 1618 Wazee Street. The April, 1906 issue of Motor Field stated that Havens had completed his prototype with a thirty-five horsepower, four cylinder motor. Havens was reported to be satisfied with the overall performance of the car, except for the engine. Accordingly, Havens had torn his car apart with the intention of rebuilding it with a sixty horsepower motor. Evidently, the car was never satisfactory. The next month at the annual auto show, Havens had only the Lambert model on display. Later, Havens brothers manufacturing took pains to make the public aware that they did not produce motor cars.14

PAGE 71

66 A successful entry into the business of automobile production was made by Oliver parker Fritchle. Fritch1e had come to Colorado upon from Ohio State University. The family business had little use for an engineer, so after correspondence with his sister, Clara Kepner, he elected to move to Colorado. Arriving in 1899, Fritchle at first secured employment with the Excelsior Mining Company in Frisco. Fritchle worked in the mining industry for several years before turning to electricity and its various applications. by 1905, Fritchle was listed in the Denver City Directory as residing at 1448 Clarkson, and dealing in automobiles across the street at 1449 Clarkson. Fritch1e was the local agent for the Rauch and Lang electric car, and also dealt in supplies for electric automobiles, including both Exide brand andhis own Fritchle batteries. He advertised that he would build electric cars to order.1S At about the same time, 1905, Fritchle was also experimenting with an electric car of his own design. By January, 1906, he had driven the prototype 2,500 miles, and suffered no mechanical breakdowns. While he planned production of his own automobile, Fritchle, a prudent man, maintained his dealership of Rauch and Lang, as well as his profitable repair and service departments in his Electric Garage.16 The car was guaranteed to travel one hundred miles on one charge of its battery. Fritchle also claimed to have reduced the weight of the batteries from over twelve hundred pounds to about six hundred pounds. An advertisement pointed out the price of replacing

PAGE 72

67 batteries was about forty cents a pound. The question was asked "Which would you rather buy, a six hundred pound battery at the end of eight thousand miles or a twelve hundred pound battery at the end of five thousand miles?,,17 Fritchle's first year's production was limited to seven cars. By August, 1907, Fritchle had acquired orders for twenty cars. These ranged in price from $1,650 for a seventy-five mile runabout to $1,850 for either a one hundred mile Stanhope ora two or four passenger combination. Fritchle shipped a car to G. M. Spencer of Chicago, Illinois, the first sale of a Denver car to the east. Spencer had made a study of all the electric cars on the market and concluded that none "in his opinion, equalled in all essential points the qualities of the Denver made car." The company would "send the Fritchle anywhere on earth for a demonstration." They also wanted "live ones" to act as agents.1S In May, 1909, the company moved across East Colfax into new quarters at 1510 Clarkson, the former mammoth .skating rink, where it stayed until Fritch1e decided to cease operations in 1920. This move allowed for the expansion of both vehicle and battery production. The new quarters also provided for a larger service area. From the beginning, the Fritchle automobile was unusual. The company claimed that the vehicle would travel one hundred miles on a single charge. Another claim was that the entire car, except the wheels and tires, was built in the Clarkson Street shops. Advertisements claimed that the entire vehicle, except the tires, would be guaranteed for one year from the date of shipping.

PAGE 73

68 Customers were invited to compare the guarantee with other electrics, all of which supposedly offered only a ninety day guarantee. The advertisements stated that "The people who appreciate the value of a Fritchle most, are those who have owned other makes of electrics." Bodies were also built in the Denver plant. The Colorado climate, it was maintained, allowed the wood to season perfectly. The bodies were built of wood with aluminum panels inset, as was common body building practice of the day. Front and rear battery compartments were covered with metal hoods, and "protected on the inside from acid action by acid proof wood veneer." All Fritchle body designs were patented. Equipment included a Fritchle milostat, a device that showed the amount of charge in the battery; a Weston Volt-Ammeter to register current flow; an odometer; eight day clock; tool kit; and four lamps outside. In addition, the closed models had a dome light that came on when the doors were opened; a flower vase; and a rear view mirror. The open cars were supplied with a windshield; speedometer; and a full cape top and storm curtains (in place of windows).19 Steering was from the left side, and as in most electric cars of the time, from the back seat, at least in the closed cars. In place of the more common wheel, steering was accomplished by a lever. In this lever was mounted the controller, a device to regulate the current flow to the motor. The controller was also of Fritchle design and patented. The controller provided five speeds forward and three reverse. Operation was accomplished by advancing

PAGE 74

the controller lever for forward motion, and pulling it back for reverse. Speed was from eight to twenty miles per hour.20 69 The motor, of Fritchle design as well, normally supplied a whopping three horsepower, but was capable of developing up to ten horses. At the same time, when coasting down hills, the motor would automatically act as a generator. This would serve to create a braking action, as well as serving to recharge the batteries. It was maintained by the company that this feature was of value in "slowing up" at crossings as "the momentum of the car is absorbed by the battery as power to be utilized, instead of by the brakes to be dissipated as heat," and found only on the Fritchle automobile. The motor: is flexibly suspended from the body at the balance point of the motor and is rigidly connected to the rear axle by a tubular housing which serves as a torsion tube, inside of which is our direct line driving shaft. By this method of connecting the motor shaft to the worm shaft, we eliminate the heavy, troublesome, unbalanced, power consuming universal joints.21 The batteries, also built in the Clarkson plant, were claimed to be superior to the more common Edison batteries in use in most electric vehicles. They consisted of a total of thirty-two cells and rated at sixty-four volts. A 150 ampere-hour capacity was maintained. Fritchle stated that the batteries were "absolutely guaranteed," but the term of the guarantee is not specified. Renewal price was set in 1914 at $220.00. Oliver Fritchle began early to prove his invention. On June 26, 1907, the Rocky Mountain News reported that Fritchle became the first person to drive from Denver to Colorado Springs in an

PAGE 75

70 electric automobile. Upon arrival at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs, the News reported that the odometer read 71.9 miles, the distance traveled from the Fritch1e shops in Denver to the hotel. To make sure that his claim could not be questioned, Fritchle was accompanied by a Model "S" Oldsmobile in which rode C. o. Sprenger of Denver, Paul Waterman, Charles Buckner, and E. E. Frazier." A Fritch1e advertisement in the Denver Republican on December 11, 1910, claimed that the stunt was the. result of a "wager with Denver motorists, who declared that Mr. Fritchle could not drive one of his cars to Palmer Lake on one charging of his battery." The trip became well publicized in advertisements for the Fritchle autos. After the return trip, the car was driven about Denver until the battery was completely discharged. The odometer read 105 miles.22 Another publicity stunt by the Fritchle Company was also advertised in the Denver Republican on December 11, 1910. Oliver Fritchle took a car out of stock and climbed Lookout Mountain via Chimney Gulch. A letter from Rees C. Vidler reprinted in that advertisement in the Republican stated that he had observed that the car had come up the mountain via a route the "average grade for nearly four miles being ten percent, and in one place the grade being twenty seven percent." Vidler admitted to being suitably impressed with this stunt. Apparently, this was the first time that anyone had tried to climb Lookout Mountain in an electric car. Perhaps the biggest publicity stunt that Fritchle pulled was in 1908. He had challenged the other manufacturers to a race between Lincoln, Nebraska, and New York City. He chose Lincoln over

PAGE 76

71 Denver as a starting point due to the lack of charging facilities on the Colorado plains. Fritchle's 1914 catalogue, on page 27, reminiscences: During the summer of 1908, there was considerable enthusiasm shown by several manufacturers of electric autos on the subject of touring or durability contest. As the Fritchle electric had won in every contest of speed, hill climbing, and mileage per charge, and had toured the Rocky Mountains for the four years previously, we were confident of winning in a tour across the country against any and all the electrics on the market and we challenged them to a durability contest, worthwhile, which challenge we herewith reprint .. The competition was challenged to make the mentioned run in the fall of 1908. The Fritchle Company stated that they intended to make therun, and did not want to "go about it in a 'gum-shoe' manner." The competition "did not accept our challenge; so we star1;:ed out alone after waiting all summer for someone to accept." The trip was completed in twenty-three days and covered 2,140 miles of virtually non-existent roads starting October 31 and finishing in late November. 23 For some reason, Fritchle chose an open runabout model instead of a somewhat warmer closed car for the trip. The expedition was made without mechanical failure, but it was not without mishap. On several instances, time was lost trying to find a place to charge the batteries. At one point in the journey, Fritchle towed a broken-down car ten miles into town after the owner found that he couldn't fix the car on the road. The electric became stuck in the mud and sand of a dry river bed, succeeded in scaring a farmer's horse, but only suffered one flat tire.24

PAGE 77

72 The operator himself was not immune from trouble. Fritch1e was arrested twice on the trip, once in Pennsylvania, and once in New Jersey, both times for driving without a valid state license. Fritchle arrived in New York City without further mishap, proving the reliability of his invention. From New York, Fritchle drove on to Washington, D.C. and toured that city before returning to Denver.25 Testimonials sent to the company from satisfied customers were numerous. Gilbert Campbell of Long Beach, California, reported that after twelve thousand miles, he was still receiving good service, but was worried that some service might be necessary. Campbell asked that the company supply him with the name of a reliable mechanic in his area. William D. Downs of the Gano-Downs Dry Goods store (outfitters to men and boys) in Denver was so impressed with his 1908 model that he purchased another in 1911. Downs maintained from 1911 to May, 1914, service costs on the 1911 model were only $24.75, excluding "of course any tire changes." Evan E. Evans of Evans Investment Company in Denver, son of former territorial Governor John Evans, claimed 65,000 miles on the odometer of his 1908 model, and stated that "it runs just as well as it did the day I bought it.,,26 Production of the Fritchle was limited. As the vehicle was hand built, the plant could only turn out a few vehicles per month. M. B Updike of Omaha, Nebraska, wrote that his wife was still driving her 1908 model, numbered 118. If production was numbered consecutively from number one, then the conclusion can be drawn that less than two hundred cars were built from 1906 through 1908. Motor

PAGE 78

73 Field reported in August, 1907, that Fritch1e had produced or planned to produce twenty-seven cars by that date. The Rocky Mountain News on January 9, 1910, reported production for 1909 to be one hundred cars. The News of that date further stated that Fritchle's plans for 1910 were to double that to two hundred cars. Clifford o. Fritchle, Oliver Fritchle's nephew, believes that his uncle's company produced about two thousand cars from 1906 to 1917. If production continued at the rate reported by the Rocky Mountain News, that is two hundred cars per year from 1910 through 1917, two thousand cars would be a reasonably accurate figure. The invention of the self-starter for gasoline powered automobiles, as well as wartime material shortages caused Fritchle to stop production of automobiles in 1917, but for the next three years, the Fritchle Electric and Garage Company stayed open to service the automobiles still in use.27 In 1906, another successful automobile manufacturer came onto the Denver scene, the Colburn Automobile Company. Produced from 1906 to 1911, the automobile was built by Judge Ernest A. Colburn and his sons ERnest A. Jr. and Henry C. Colburn. Judge Colburn is known to Denver history as a horseman who kept a fine stable of horses, and competed with them in many harness racing events. The Co1burns also built the Colburn Hotel in downtown Denver.28 The Colburn family became involved in the automotive field first as dealers, handling White, Pope and Locomobile, among others. They opened the Antlers Automobile Co., located at the corner of Fifteenth and Colfax Streets. In 1906, the company was reorganized into the Colburn Automobile Co. at the same address.

PAGE 79

74 The prototype of the Colburn was shown at the 1906 auto show, and the Colburns immediately received several orders for the car. The Colburn was well received at the show, and plans were made for the car to be made on "a large scale." All components were to be made in Denver, and the new Colburn Block was being equipped with the tooling to manufacture the car, as well as to continue to service and sell the other automobiles the company handled.29 As Judge Colburn was interested in racing of any kind, the automobile produced by his company naturally was entered in the local racing circuit. The racers entered and won several events, including a two hundred mile race in 1909. The 1909 racer was a forty horsepower roadster stripped of its fenders, but otherwise a stock model, still retaining even its horn.30 The Colburn was a handsome car, easily identified by the large "C" mounted on the radiator. It was available in a variety of styles, including roadster and touring. In 1909, the company made two separate lines, the "35" and a higher priced line of forty horsepower. The "35" was characterized by a sloping hood similar to the French Renault. The forty horsepower line had more traditional styling, and models were known by letters. The roadster was known as the model "H. ,,31 The specifications for the model "H" are impressive. It was supplied with a four cylinder, overhead valve engine of a (manufacturer's) rated horsepower of forty. As it was common practice to underrate horsepower of an engine, allowing that model to compete in a lower class in racing, the actual horsepower was

PAGE 80

75 probably much higher. The company advertised a speed of seventy-two miles per hour. Spark was supplied by a Bosch High-Tension magneto, "connected direct to spark plugs." An alternate system of ignition was supplied via storage batteries, a coil, and a separate set of spark plugs. The engine connected to the transmission through a Hele Shaw mUltiple disk clutch. The transmission was of four speeds, with direct drive in third, fourth being an overdrive.32 Wheelbase was 108 inches, and weight was 2,600 pounds. The body was either a roadster type or touring with red upholstery, special colors requiring six weeks notice. The model "H" was supplied with five lamps; an acetylene generator; horn; tool kit; a jack; and a tire pump and repair kit. The car was advertised as silent and reliable. The price for this reliability was $4,500. The company planned a total annual production of between two and five hundred cars, to be based on sales.33 December of 1909 saw the announcement of a new company entering the vehicle manufacturing field in Denver. The Universal Motor Company demonstrated the prototype of their 1910 model heavy truck. The Denver Times, on December 18, 1909, carried a picture and short article about this new truck. "Denver motor truck better than its inventor had promised" read the caption over the picture. The article then went on to describe the company's efforts. The truck was loaded with five tons weight, then coupled with a trailer carrying an additional four tons load. The truck then made a "splendid trip ... at the rate of eighteen miles per hour."

PAGE 81

Power was supplied by motors "in each wheel." These motors were found to develop nine horsepower, rather than the expected five. Frank H. Summeril was listed as president; P. A. Balcom, vicepresident; and F. H. Crass was secretary of the corporation. Offices were located in the Ideal Building, while the plant was at 1933-43 Curtis Street.34 As the automobile became more and more popular in Denver, the established manufacturers in the East could not keep up with demand. Allover the country, local businessmen sought to meet the need for automobiles by producing them locally. Some, like Colburn, succeeded for a while, but most faded away without going into mass production. Only a few manufacturers like Fritchie managed to survive any length of time at all. The needs of the war effort in 1917 probably succeeded in closing those companies that were just hanging on. The economic trends, coupled with difficulties in obtaining materials, eventually sorted the auto manufacturers out into a select few who solved the multitude of problems associated with producing an automobile. Sadly, none survived in Denver. The shortage of the popular makes of car made the locally produced vehicles popular in the Rocky Mountain region, but they failed to find any large market nationally. These cars did manage to command a fairly high price, between $1,500 and $5,000, and were hand built in small shops. The adoption of mass production techniques made these shops financially unable to compete. Their small volume would not profitably support conversion to mass production. Since manufacturers like Colburn charged a high price for their cars,

PAGE 82

77 introduction of the lower cost, mass produced cars made a severe dent in their trade. Most could not survive for long in the face of such competition.

PAGE 83

78 NOTESCHAPTER #6 1. Floyd Clymer, Automobile Scrapbook, Vol. 3 (Los Angeles; Clymer Motors, 1952), 36. 2. Denver Times, May 15, 1899. 3. Denver Post, July 20, 1899. 4. Colorado Springs Gazette, July 25, 1899. 5. Denver Post, July 21, 1899. 6. Ibid. 7. Colorado Springs Gazette, July 23, 1899. 8. Colorado Springs Gazette, July 25, 1899. 9. Ibid. 10. Colorado Springs Gazette, July 26, 1899. 11. Colorado Springs Gazette, July 29, 1899. 12. Motor Field, May, 1905, 33. 13. Motor Field, May, 1906, 47. 14. Ibid. 15. Motor Field, April, 1906, 63. 16. Ibid. 17. Motor Field, January, 1907, 58. 18. Motor Field, August, 1907, 58. 19. 1914 Fritchle Electric sales catalog, Clifford o. Fritchle Collection. This collection has since been donated" to the Colorado Historical Society. It is now a part of a growing collection of Fritch1e artifacts, collected largely through the efforts of archivist Stan 01iner. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid. 22. Motor Field, August, 1907, 58.

PAGE 84

79 23. 1914 Fritch1e Electric sales catalog. 24. Motor Field, December, 1908, 32. 25. 1914 Fritchle Electric sales catalog. 26. Ibid. 27. Clifford O. Fritch1e, interview with the author. 28. Clymer, 78. 29. Motor Field, November, 1906, 44. 30. Clymer, 78. 31. Ibid. 32. Motor Field, November, 1906, 44. 33. Ibid. 34. Denver Times, December 18, 1909.

PAGE 85

80 CHAPTER SEVEN THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW AND THE AUTOMOBILE As the automobile grew in popularity, it became obvious to the citizens of Denver that the use of the machine had to be regulated. While the city never showed the auto-phobia (characterized by restrictive and prohibitive legislation) that some parts of the country did, many citizens found cause to complain about its use. They called for reasonable restrictions, not the outlandish laws formulated by some of the other towns. No Denverite was legally required to disassemble and hide his machine if a horse balked at the sight of the contraption, but prudence dictated that the automobilist take steps to calm the horse. Motorists in Denver did not have to be preceded by a flagman, but they were expected to control the speed of their machines. Initial opposition to the auto-buggies centered on the "high" speeds at which they were operated. Before 1900, some cars, notably steamers, were capable of speeds of twenty to thirty miles an hour on city streets. Letters to the editor and editorials in the local papers all condemned "scorching" on city streets, and asked for speed restrictions. A 1901 letter to the editor of the Denver Times asked if there was an ordinance restricting the speed of automobiles. The writer, who signed himself Pedestrian, stated that "they glide along the principal streets of the city with the speed of a railroad

PAGE 86

81 train and the recklessness of a runaway." "Pedestrian" was afraid that someone was going to "be struck by one of them and never know what happened." The writer contended that these horseless carriages were difficult to hear coming; and at the speed of" twenty miles per hour, automobiles were "a dangerous thing to corne in contact with."l An editorial in the Denver Times on April 30, 1902, was in the same tone. The Times alleged that they had received numerous complaints about reckless operation of automobiles along Broadway. The residents on Broadway were said to enjoy the "passing show ... but they have a very natural prejudice against the maiming of themselves or their children." The problem had not started with the automobile, but years earlier with the bicycle craze: ... there were 30,000 wheels in active operation day and night. Such scorching the world has never seen. In those days, nobody had any rights but the bicyclists. There were ordinances limiting the speed of bicycles, but nobody paid any attention to them. When the scorcher carne along, the poor pedestrian was obliged to hunt his hole, and that at the top of his speed. Occasionally, but all too rarely, the scorcher came to grief ... The editorial found that though the bicycle craze was dying out, it was being replaced by the automobile. It was felt that a combination of bicycle and automobile would lead to the end of any safety for the pedestrian. The speed limits were not being adhered to, indeed "drivers seem to care as little for it as they would for an order against yelling at a baseball game." The editor ended by noting that the rules of the road gave precedence to the pedestrian, and if the rights of the person on foot were not recognized out of courtesy, "then the law must be invoked.,,2

PAGE 87

82 Local newspapers universally condemned "scorching, but not the automobile itself. An article in the Denver Post leads the reader to believe that speeding is a disease or an addiction not unlike the use of morphine, cigarettes, or alcohol. Even women were not exempt from the disease, and "only a ride of lightning rapidity will satisfy their craving.,,3 The laws mentioned in editorials referred to ordinances enacted to control vehicles such as bicycles and horse-powered vehicles. The police applied these laws to the automobile as well, as an ordinance that specifically included automobiles was nonexistent.4 The Fire and Police Board instructed Chief Armstrong to apply the bicycle to automobiles operated in the business district. This had been done successfully in Chicago, and it was felt that it would work in Denver as well.S The first attempts to control the horseless carriage came July 27, 1902. The park board of the city of Denver decided to ban automobiles of any type from City Park after six in the evening. This ban was in response to an incident where several horses were scared at a concert. Police were to be stationed at all gates to the park to enforce the rule.6 July 30, 1902, saw the drafting of Denver's first comprehensive automobile legislation. It included the restrictions on the use of parks in the first ordinance, and had several other provisions as well. All autos in Denver were required to be registered and display numbers in a prominent place. The numbers were to be eight inches long and four inches wide. This was "to

PAGE 88

83 enable people who are run over to readily read whose vehicle it was that injured them." Motorcycles were included in this requirement. Parked cars could be left with their engines running for only five minutes. It was thought that if one wanted to visit longer than that, he should turn off his machine. Speed limits were also set. A maximum speed of eight miles per hour was allowed in the downtown area bounded by Broadway, Wazee Street, Nineteenth and Colfax Avenues, and Larimer Street between Cherry Creek and Downing Avenue. Speeds for the rest of the city were set at fifteen miles per hour, or the rate of a street car. Care was to be taken at crossings, and speed reduced.7 In 1906, a chapter of the Denver Municipal Code was devoted to the automobile. An automobile was defined as "any vehicle propelled by electricity, steam, compressed air, naphtha, gasoline, kerosene, or other form of motive power." All vehicles were to be registered with the Fire and Police Board, which would issue a number to be attached to the vehicle. Numbers were to be plain arabic numerals not less than 4 inches high, and of a color to contrast with the background color on which they were mounted. The number was not to be transferred to any other vehicle, or to any other person. All operators had to obtain a permit before driving a vehicle on the city streets. The permit was to be issued by the Fire and Police Board upon application. The applicant had to file a written request and present some proof of his ability to operate a motor vehicle. If the presented evidence was satisfactory, the board would issue a permit upon payment of one dollar.

PAGE 89

84 Speed limits were raised somewhat in 1906, from eight to ten miles per hour in the business district, and from fifteen to eighteen miles per hour in the rest of the city. All vehicles were to be operated at a reasonable and safe manner at all times, and turn corners and pass intersections at speed of not more than six miles per hour. All vehicles were to be equipped with a gong or horn to act as an alarm to be sounded whenever a collision might occur. It was also to be used to warn pedestrians and others of the vehicle's approach. All vehicles were also to be equipped with brakes capable of stopping the vehicle from a speed of twelve miles per hour in a distance of ten feet. Any vehicle operated from dusk to dawn was to have a set of lights to show the presence of such vehicle on the road. Penalties for violation of any part of the section were from five to one hundred dollars for every offense, and revocation of the operator's permit could result. The courts seldom revoked the licenses of violators, possibly because repeat offenders were a good source of income to the city.8 Before the introduction of these ordinances, as noted earlier, police applied laws pertaining to bicycles and other vehicles to the automobile. The police found that they could not apprehend the "scorchers" in uniform and on foot, so they had to resort to other means. Officers in plain clothes, equipped with bicycles, were stationed in strategic places along favorite routes to apprehend the culprits. Violators, including those on bicycles, were taken directly to Police court and fined.9

PAGE 90

85 A favorite target for the police, possibly because they were on the streets more often, were the automobile salesmen. A favorite sales tactic was to take a prospective buyer out for a ride and demonstrate the speed and power of the machine. Officers evidently were acquainted with these men and upon observing them out on the streets, could prefer charges in Police Court. The officer would then estimate the speed of the automobile, and the judge would pass sentence. Fines of twenty-five dollars were not uncommon. 10 Linn Mathewson, working at the time for George Hannan, had the distinction of being the first "scorcher" to be fined by the court. Mathewson claimed that he was obeying the eight mile an hour speed limit, but Officer Askew estimated his speed at about twenty miles an hour. In fining him twenty-five dollars and costs, Judge Thomas noted that Mathewson had been in court the year before for the same offense. At that time the judge gave Mathewson a stern reprimand. 11 One gentleman, William B. Felker, Jr., of the Felker Cycle Company, was constantly in trouble because of his speeding. He was fined five dollars and costs January 16, 1902, for speeding after the police chief and a judge saw him speeding down Sixteenth Street at a speed of at least fifteen miles per hour. It was noted that ordinances provide for a speed of not more than eight miles per hour. Felker mentioned that the ordinance was written before the automobile was invented, and allowances should be made for the improved technology of the motor vehicle. In March, after causing an accident, Felker was given a lecture about the proper operation of

PAGE 91

warning signals and the evils of speeding by Captain Skelly of the police. 12 86 The policy magistrate fined two young gentlemen twentyfive dollars and costs august 25, 1903, for engaging in a speed contest along Colfax Avenue. Harold Kountze and Tyson Dynes, both prominent citizens, cheerfully paid the fines. The arresting officer stated that while he appreciated sport as much as the next man, this type of behavior on the city's streets could not be tolerated. The officer ordered the pair to stop their reckless disregard for "pedestrians, street cars and baby carriages," which they quickly did, at least until they were out of sight of the cop.13 Speeding and reckless driving continued to be a problem throughout the first decade of the century. By June, 1909, the problem had grown to such proportions that the Fire and Police Board directed the police'chief to confiscate "the machines of those owners who are found guilty of having violated the ordinances and regulations regarding the speeding of their motor cars." Confiscated machines were to be stored safely in a building until released by the magistrate or other court.14 Other measures taken by the board to curb speeding on Denver's streets included revocation of an operator's permit. If one was found guilty of violating a speed limit or other automobile ordinance, the result was the loss of the privilege to drive in Denver for an unspecified period of time. The police reminded the citizens of Denver that all who drove motor vehicles in the city had to have permits. Permits were not to be issued to anyone under the

PAGE 92

87 age of sixteen. The public was requested to call the police if they noticed a child driving a car.l5 Vehicle regulation and registration moved more slowly at the state level. New York State first began to call for registration of automobiles in 1901. By 1903, eight other states had followed suit. By 1905, a total of twenty-five states had enacted registration laws. All except three of these states allowed for a one time registration while the same owner had possession. Colorado did not enact any legislation for control of the automobile until 1913. Even then, these laws provided only for registration of vehicles, and did not set any speed or other traffic laws. These were left to the individual municipalities.16

PAGE 93

88 NOTES--CHAPTER #7 Denver Times, May 28, 1901. 2. Denver Times, April 30, 1902. 3. Denver Post, October 28, 1902. 4. Denver Times, March 13, 1902. 5. Denver Times, March 29, 1902. 6. Denver Times, July 26, 1902. 7. Denver Times, July 30, 1902. 8. Denver Municipal Ordinances # 157-160, 1906. The first experimental traffic signal light was installed at the corner of Fourteenth and Larimer Streets in early 1934. This light was later replaced with a permanent signal on April 5, 1934, joining the city's first permanent light at Colfax and Speer Boulevard. 9. Denver Times, May 25, 1900. 10. Denver Times, January 15, 1902. 11. Denver Times, January 15, 1902 12. Denver Times, January 16, 1902. 13. Denver Times, August 25, 1903. 14. Denver Municipal Facts, June 26, 1909, 12. 15. Ibid. 16. James J. Flink, America Adopts the Automobile 1895-1910, (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1970), 166-169.

PAGE 94

89 CHAPTER EIGHT WOMEN MOTORISTS The early days of motoring are typically thought of as the domain of the menfolk. Contrary to this idea, many of Denver's women were adventuresome enough to not only own a motor car, but they also drove their machines as well. The women of Denver quickly set out to prove that the predicted disasters resulting from mixing the fair sex and machinery would not happen. A reporter from the Denver Republican claimed to be the first woman west of the Mississippi to drive an automobile. In the March, 12, 1899 issue of the Denver Republican, the reporter, thought to be Eva Bird Brown, described her adventure of the month before. During the automobile show in February, 1899, Mr. Gilbert, the representative of the American Electric Vehicle Company, had been persuaded to instruct Miss Brown in the operation of one of his machines. Upon completion of the brief lesson, the intrepid duo ventured onto the streets of the city. Miss Brown at first found the vehicle a bit odd, as there was "no horse, no whip, no ribbons in front." Gilbert drove the automobile out of Coliseum Hall and down to Colfax, where he turned control over to the novice "automobiless." While changing seats, the pair endured numerous questions from onlookers, including "what would

PAGE 95

90 it do to a car (streetcar) if you ran into it?' from a very small boy with a very large mouth." "It must be very difficult to handle" remarked a bystander. "Mr. Gilbert smiled and helped the woman-who-rides into the seat." Starting out slowly, with "feminine hands" at the controls, the carriage went about four miles an hour. After getting the feel of the machine, the speed control was changed, and "for a few blocks the carriage made a blur of everything it passed." While under way, the ride was "so gentle, and the pneumatic tires stole so quietly over the pavement that the tyro thought herself under the influence of some hypnotic power." Some bystanders sought to make fun of the contraption and its passengers, "crying whoa, or clucking vigorously," while others found the sight a terrifying one. Horses did not seem to be bothered by the machine destined to make them a rarity, and "with the exception of a pricking up of their ears, there was no sign of annoyance." A woman on a bicycle, however, "shied terribly" when she looked back and saw the horseless nightmare bearing down on her. She "cast a look behind her, saw the automobile coming, gave one startled cry, grabbed her wheel and rushed madly for the sidewalk." Women cyclists were not the only ones frightened by the passing machine. The driver of a coal wagon was "seized with a sudden panic" and drove his team directly into the path of the oncoming vehicle. Bystanders foresaw a wreck of tremendous proportions and admonished the operator to stop. Gilbert stepped firmly "on the big button of the brake" and quickly brought the

PAGE 96

91 machine to a halt. The vehicle stopped "short and gracefully" with about two feet to spare. Gilbert later allowed that the big wagon would have "done things" to his automobile if a collision had occurred. The ride ended in a coast down Colfax Avenue. The machine gained speed as it glided down the hill, and it seemed that the carriage was going straight on over the top of the engine hourse and on to destruction, but it didn't. It was like shooting the chutes, only better. The return to Coliseum Hall was uneventful, and "the novelty of being the observed of all observers had worn off." Miss Brown enjoyed the rest of the ride, and expressed the hope that her editor would assign her to more stories involving automobile riding.1 While she had the distinction of being the first woman to operate a motor vehicle in the city, Eva Bird Brown was certainly not the only one. By 1902, many society women had acquired automobiles, and were seen motoring about town. Electrically powered machines were favored, but those powered by steam and gasoline were also popular. Mrs. David Brunton holds the honor of being the first woman in Denver to own her own car. Her husband enjoyed so much success with his Columbia that he ordered another, a Pope Mark III Phaeton, for his wife. Mrs. William Felker followed suit, opoerating one of the Locomobiles that her husband was purveying. The Felkers were an automobiling family. Daughter Wilma took quickly to the complexities of operating a steam powered carriage at the tender age of eleven.2 One of the most intrepid young women operating a horseless carriage in Denver was Julia Campbell. As mentioned earlier, Miss

PAGE 97

Campbell acquired one of the machines raffled by the Felker Cycle Company and Hurtbut's Grocery. Mr. Campbell wanted to give the car to a minister that he held in high regard. Julia would not allow him to do that, as she had her eye on it for excursions to Overland Park. Miss Campbell held that "I'd never give up the horses for the auto, and never give up the auto to the minister. ,,3 Julia Campbell acquired the reputation as one of the most fearless drivers not only in Denver, but the entire state. She allowed that on trips out to Overland, she goes at a "pretty rapid pace. ,,4 Not only was Miss Campbell an accomplished automobilist, but a mechanic as well. Miss Campbell is the only young woman in toWn, so far as I know, said a dealer, who is willing to get under a machine with an oil can and a monkey wrench. She has tipped her Loco up several times to my knowledge to see why the wheels didn't go around properly." Miss Campbell admitted that "the boys teased me nearly to death about it," but that she saw no real difficulty in operating and maintaining the little Locomobi1e. 5 Mrs. Lawrence Phipps found herself so taken with automobiling that she kept motor cars at both her Denver and Pittsburg residences so that she would be able to motor about either city. Not satisfied with driving a "ladies' machine" all the time, Mrs. Phipps was known to run out to Montclair in the big red [Mercedes] touring car, the road racer that the men affect such ferocious goggles, leather hats and tightly buttoned coats with, as though the handling of it was something terrible. ,,6

PAGE 98

93 Mrs. Walter Cheeseman could be seen driving about in her three thousand dollar maroon and green electric Victoria. She was joined by Mrs. Alvin Daniels and Mrs. Henry Porter in their electrics. Mrs. Linn Mathewson drove a variety of vehicles, and could be counted on to appear for any club run or other automobile adventure. Other women soon followed the lead of the pioneers, and lists of sales almost always included at least one woman. Their purchases ranged from a simple electric or two cylinder Oldsmobile up to the largest, most powerful machines available, including ThomasFlyer, Packard, and Winton.7 Miss Evelyn Walsh caused quite a stir in Denver's social circles as well as local automobile establishments when she took delivery of the new, $22,0"00 Fiat limousine ordered for her by her father, Thomas Walsh. J. Hervey Nichols delivered the car, which was placed in the care of a chauffeur hired especially to drive the big car. Miss Walsh was not expected to drive the big car herself, leaving the operation "at all times" to William Sullivan, the chauffeur. The car was especially ordered for Colorado roads, and was four inches higher than its European companions.S Women also took the time to be aware of the total operation of their autos. A Denver automobile manufacturer stated: Women study their machines, and they get out of the knownothing class mighty fast. What is more, women are fussy about their machines, and it is just what they ought to be. If they hear a squeak, it's stop then and there and oil up! While, if a man hears the squeak, he says 'Oh, that'll quit of itself after a while.' Perhaps it does after a drop of oil has managed to leak through.

PAGE 99

94 Female autoists, by paying close attention to their machines, managed to keep their maintenance costs to a minimum, often as much as a quarter of the service cost of a similar machine operated by a man. 9 Lower maintenance was not a result of cautious ooperation on the part of the ladies. To the contrary, some women took delight in the hazards associated with automobiling. They were known to take steep hills on the fly, dart into narrow gaps in traffic, and take risks that most men avoided. Doctors felt that mastering the automobile allowed women to overcome their sense of fear. One Denver physician held that: Women who are afraid of everything, ... have come out wonderfully after learning to run a gasoline motor. It frightens them so thoroughly, and gets them so used to taking risks, that they to be afraid when there really is nothing to be afraid of.lO The ladies surpassed the men on the point of courtesy on the road as well. Men made a point of being courteous to the "goddess in the machine," but politeness did not extend to motorists of the same gender, or the general public. Women, on the other hand, made a point to adhere to the rules of the road, and be as courteous as possible. One young lady said that she had always received the most considerate treatment. perhaps it's partly due to the fact that don't behave as if the streets were created for my exclusive benefit. If a truck driver pulls up his team to let me go by, I don't act as if the whole road were mine anyhow. I look up at him and bow my thanks.ll While women were quick to embrace the automobile, they also made a point to dress appropriately for motoring. When Mr. and Mrs. Cabler set out on their motor trip to Colorado Springs in July, 1899, Mrs. Cabler took care to dress "in a becoming pearl gray fedora,

PAGE 100

95 driving gloves, and a cool blue serge traveling dress.,,12 Fashion dictated automobiling dresses should be made of linen, but could be a variety of colors. For cold weather, a second skirt could be added and a warm lap robe included for comfort. White was found to be fetching but not entirely satisfactory, as the nature of motoring tended to soil the costume. Tan or gray was serviceable, but not terribly complementary to the complexion. A new shade of blue was the rage in 1902 for automobile gowns. Sapphire blue frocks imported from paris were embroidered with white, and lined with white taffeta silk.13 Automobiling costumes often included a Norfolk jacket with pearl buttons. Other jacket styles could include Eton or Bolero. A white silk blouse was always de rigueur. Depending on the weather and the purpose of the trip, a short Russian blouse belted at the waist with a belt of the same color as the jacket could be appropriate. A big round straw hat with white lace veil and a parasol completes the summer motoring outfit for the fashionably dressed woman automobilist of 1902.14 Winter outfits were of the same styles but of heavier material. Canvas cloth, velvet and tweeds were all popular. Small and large sleeves were in fashion, but the large sleeve was more popular. Winter hats were of felt, beaver, velvet or silk, with plumes, quills, flowers and fruit as adornment. Jackets were a little heavier, with three quarter length coats or Newmarket styles popular. Gray squirrel was among the most popular furs, often

PAGE 101

96 combined with ermine. A fancy muff of fur or velvet complemented the outfit. 15 The smartly dressed woman of 1904 eliminated the simple dresses of the previous years in favor of elaborately decorated styles. Lace and ribbons could be found on all but the most utilitarian dresses. Fashion designers succumbed to the temptation to adorn the full skirts and broad shouldered bodices with trimming previously appropriate only for the fanciest of dresses. Any color or material was acceptable for a dress, as long as it was well decorated, in good taste.16 By 1906, Broadcloth and worsted materials were in favor, with black, blue and brown the most popular colors. Pleated skirts remained in vogue, including 13 and 14 gored skirts. Waists of lace and net were popular, as were those with plaids and stripes. Elaborate buttons of all materials, including chiana and enamel, appeared on gowns, as did imitation jewelry. The Bolero jacket remained in fashion for 1906.17 The lady motorists of the first decade of the twentieth century were members of the leisure class. They were the only ones who could afford to spend $800 to $5000 or more of the family's money on a frivolous contraption for motoring about town. This does not lessen the importance of their contribution to motoring. Indeed, it paved the way for their less fortunate sisters to begin driving when the cost of the motor car came within the grasp of the working classes. The stereotype of the helpless victorian woman had been smashed forever.

PAGE 102

97 NOTES--CHAPTER #8 1. Denver Republican, March 12, 1899. 2. Denver Post, November 16, 1902. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Denver Times, July 15, 1902. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. Motor Field, July, 1906, 38. 9. Motor Field, July, 1908, 33. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. 12. Denver Post, July 2l, 1899. 13. Denver Times, July 15, 1902. 14. Ibid. 15. Horseless Carriage Gazette, March-April, 1989, 38. 16. Horseless Carriage Gazette, May-June, 1989, 38. 17. Horseless Carriage Gazette, July-August, 1989, 36.

PAGE 103

98 CHAPTER NINE ACCIDENTS AND MISHAPS As the horseless carriage became a common sight on the streets and boulevards, difficulties arose. Operators of the new machines frequently had accidents. As numbers increased, sometimes the object was another automobile, but at first, the accidents generally involved equipment failure or contact with a curb or pole. Denver's first official automobile accident happened March 29, 1900, when Daniel Spencer, at the tiller of his home made vehicle "shied at a passing horse, the wheel on the starboard bow gave away, and Mr. Spencer went overboard." Spencer was reported to have suffered a broken wrist and cuts and bruises. The machine was reported to be as "badly disabled as its master." Incidents involving horses and automobiles became common, as did those between vehicles.! w. B. Felker, mentioned earlier, was arrested for causing an accident on Sixteenth Street. Felker's use of an accessory horn caused a "serious runaway." Mrs. Dora Frank, the driver of the team frightened by Felker's "red death," was thrown from her wagon. Mrs. frank, in a "delicate condition," was seriously injured.2 Felker was notified that he would have to appear in court as soon as Mrs. Frank recovered sufficiently to press charges.3

PAGE 104

99 By April 7, 1902, Mrs. Frank filed suit for injuries sustained in the accident. The Denver Times reported that this was the first lawsuit stemming from an automobile accident filed in the county. Mrs. Frank claimed two thousand dollars damages to herself and her wagon. The suit alleged that Felker was operating his machine at an excessive rate of speed, and frightened Mrs. Frank's horses, causing a runaway and throwing her from the wagon. The result of the suit is unknown. 4 By 1909, litigation for injury arising out of the operation of an automobile was becoming commonplace, and liability insurance became a necessity. Legislators in New York state introduced a bill that called for the operator of an automobile to carry a policy of ten thousand dollars to cover liability for accidents. This bill also required professional chauffeurs to carry a policy of two thousand dollars to protect the owner of the vehicle against damage. Liability coverage was available before this, but the New York bill was one of the first to require coverage.S Accidents continued to occur with distressing regularity. They became so commonplace that the newspapers quit devoting front page space to accidents. Occasionally a small paragraph could be found in the back, but not often. Motor Field continued to report the mishaps of the rich and famous, as well as the more spectacular wrecks. A stunt pulled by Eshelby Lunken, the son of E. H. Lunken, while his parents were out of town, nearly ended in tragedy. The fourteen year old boy was out motoring with his friends when he was

PAGE 105

100 dared to drive down the steps of the state capitol. Young Lunken lost control of the car and it overturned. No one was injured, and spectators helped to right the machine. The boys piled into the machine and sped off, leaving Lunken with the honor of being the youngest chauffeur to have tried the "trick.,,6 The previous year, young Lunken had set a record for driving to Pueblo. He drove the 130 mile distance in six hours and twenty-five minutes in his new Autocar.7 An accident that could have ended in disaster occurred following the wedding of automobile dealer J. Hervey Nichols and Miss Margaret Walsh, niece of "mining king" Thomas F. Walsh, and "the daughter of the late John Walsh of Cripple Creek, a prominent mining man." The marriage was a good move on the part of Nichols, as Thomas Walsh was president of the Nichols Automobile Co. Following the wedding, the couple loaded into Nichols' big Winton and drove to Troutdale. The trip was not without incident, however. While proceding "at good speed" along the road out of Evergreen, one of the front wheels, already tipped at a dangerous angle, struck a rock embedded in the ground. With a crack, the steering gear broke, and the heavy machine immediately swerved towards the edge. The chauffeur threw off the power, pushed down the foot brake, and jammed in the emergency as rapidly as he could work the levers. The occupants, almost overcome, sprang out on firm ground within a foot of the edge. A false step or failure of the brakes to work would have carried the party down the walls of the canyon to certain death. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols continued to Troutdale on the afternoon stage, leaving the car to the care of a skilled mechanic.

PAGE 106

101 The Winton was returned to the couple the next day. A few days later, they returned to Denver, presumably at a more sedate pace.8 Another wreck involved Mrs. J. A. Thatcher, wife of the president of the Denver National Bank. Having received a brand new electric Stanhope for her birthday, Mrs. Thatcher and her niece, Miss Jean Anderson, set out to learn the operation of the new car. Finding the traffic on Sherman Street in front of the Thatcher horne too heavy to practice her driving, Mrs. Thatcher had the car taken to City park, where she could drive in uncrowded condition. Once at the park, Mrs. Thatcher and Miss Anderson once again took to the road to experiment with the operation of the machine. At first, everything went well. But soon, while trying to negotiate a turn, the machine hit one of the stone walls marking the roadway. The resulting shock was such that the two women were thrown from the machine. Both landed on the grass, and did not suffer any broken bones or internal injuries. They were carried back to the thatcher residence at 1560 Sherman Street, and Dr. William Edmundson was summoned to treat them. 9 A month or so after Mrs. Thatcher's brush with death, the Reverend Dean Martyn Hart visited the police station to speak with the chief of police. As he got out of his machine, it showed an inclination to "desert the divine" and "run off alone." Dean Hart took off after the errant machine, which was going down Fourteenth Street "at a slow trot." Coat tails flying and "tall, silk hat cocked over one ear, Dean Hart overtook the machine and tried to stop

PAGE 107

102 it by pushing. This had no effect, and witnesses reported that the machine was chasing Dean down the hill. A vagrant just released from jail came to the rescue and captured the rear of the machine. With the "vag" holding the machine back, Dean Hart was able to apply the emergency brake and stop the machine. Apparently not aware of the help he had received, Reverend Hart got back into the car and drove back to the police station. The "vag," seeing the possibility of a tip drive off in a cloud of dust, continued to hold onto the back of the machine. He was dragged back to the station, then nearsightedly ignored by Dean Hart as he continued his mission.lO A fairly spectacular wreck occurred July 19, 1909, when an electric runabout splashed into Cherry Creek. The accident happened when the driver, Miss Maud Wyatt, decided to hurry home due to the approach of a storm. In her haste to get the machine under cover, Miss Wyatt turned off Speer Boulevard onto Bannock Street. Instead of using the brakes, Miss Wyatt inadvertently used the accelerator. Speeding up on the turn, the machine jumped the curb and sidewalk and plunged into Cherry Creek. The three women in the car were all injured to some degree, the most serious being a broken elbow and shoulder suffered by Mrs. G. C. Wyatt. The third passenger, Mrs. L. Dent of Emporia, Kansas, was trapped in the car under water, but was saved by the "timely assistance of some men." Saved from drowning, Mrs. Dent suffered only a "slightly wrenched shoulder." Miss Wyatt "sustained a severe

PAGE 108

wrench of the shoulder ... [and] other bruises about the head and body. ,,11 103 After being extricated from the wreck, the three took a taxi to the residence of Mrs. Wyatt, where it was discovered that Mrs. Wyatt had forgotten her keys. The trio had to wait at least a half hour on the porch before a neighbor finally forced a door open. As the popularity of the automobile grew, so did the number of mishaps. The press soon tired of covering every wreck, and concentrated on other news. Most accidents resulted in little or no damage, and only those involved had any interest in the event. Only a spectacular wreck reached the papers after about 1905, and those usually rated only a few paragraphs. No mention of fatalities has been found, although undoubtedly there were some.

PAGE 109

104 NOTES--CHAPTER #9 1. Denver Times, March 19, 1900 2. Dawson "Scrapbook", Volume 46, 459. Colorado Historical Society. 3. Denver Times, March 13, 1902. 4. Denver Times, March 7, 1902. 5. Horseless Age, February 10, 1909, 219. 6. Motor Field, March, 1905, 60. 7. Motor Field, July, 1904, 3l. 8. Motor Field, September, 1905, 40. 9. Motor Field, August, 1906, 50. 10. Motor Field, October, 1906, 27. 11. Denver Times, July 20, 1909.

PAGE 110

105 CHAPTER TEN RACING Man's fascination with the motorcar soon merged with his competitive instincts. Soon after its introduction, men began to find ways to make the go-buggy go faster. Not satisfied with speed for its own sake, some people began to race against one another. This racing not only satisfied the competitive urge, it served to prove the reliability of the new machine, and to test new products designed for its use. Soon after its arrival in Colorado, sportsmen saw that the automobile could provide entertainment. One of the first speed contests was held May 8, 1902, and was a race from Denver to Colorado Springs and back. The primary contestants were William B. Felker, driving an Autocar and Webb Jay, in a Winton. Other contestants included George hannan and E. H. Hurlbut. After a hair raising ride taking eight hours and seven minutes, Felker and his companion, G. A. Maxwell, crossed the finish line at Colfax and Broadway at 3:34 P.M. This was an hour and a half ahead of Jay, who did not return until five o'clock. Jay had been delayed on the return trip by several mishaps. Felker's trip had been marred only by flat tires, which took a total of fifty-seven minutes to repair. The last fifteen miles into Colorado Springs were covered on a flat tire, as the

PAGE 111

puncture could not be repaired on the road. Felker returned to Denver without incident. 106 Spectators reported that the autos spent as much time in the air as on the road, "the big wheels of the machine would not stop ... but would jump right off the crest of one hill, landing three or four feet ahead somewhere on the road." Often, the machines were "going at a rate of speed it would not do to talk about. ,,1 Despite defeat, Jay continued to maintain that the Winton was superior to the Autocar and left two hundred dollars on deposit with the stakeholder for a rematch. Both racers were summoned to appear before Judge Thomas for racing within the city limits. Shortly after this, Jay moved to the Cleveland area, and became associated with the White Motor Company.2 Track racing began even earlier. The existence of more than one automobile in Denver made it inevitable that some of the owners would compete to see who could go faster. The first race between autos was held the week of June 15, 1900, at Overland Park. The race was between three automobiles going a distance of one mile from a standing start. The winning time was 1:57 1/4, a speed of better than thirty miles per hour. The winning car was a Locomobile from the Felker Cycle Company.3 Famous race car driver Barney Oldfield arrived in Denver in October, 1903, for several exhibitions at Overland Park. Oldfield was expected to break his old record of fourteen minutes and thirtythree second for a fifteen mile race. It was hoped that Oldfield would compete against Lawrence Phipps' big new Mercedes.4

PAGE 112

107 Oldfield was the featured driver on an extensive program of racing that day. There were several heats for automobiles, and one for motorcycles. G. A. Maxwell, mentioned earlier, won the motorcycle race easily on a machine he had built to compete against Oldfield at Salt Lake a couple of years earlier. A White, operated by Charles Bilz, caused some excitement in its first race against Oldfield. After winning an earlier race, the White was halfway through the race when mechanical problems caused Bilz to retire from the race. On the way off the. track, a valve came loose because of the vibration from the dirt track, spraying gasoline onto the car. The gasoline then ignited from the heat of the boiler and burner,S and the car began to burn. Bilz took time to shut off the fuel supply before leaving the machine, and suffered severe burns to his hands. The fire was restricted to the car, which, due to its construction, was not seriously damaged. 6 During the feature race, Oldfield impressed the crowd with his expertise behind the wheel. In the last event of the day, Oldfield set out to break records. He set new track records, as well as personal ones for the five, ten and fifteen mile distances. He turned in an impressive time of four minutes, forty-five seconds for five miles; nine minutes, thirty-four seconds for ten; and fourteen minutes, 24 1/2 seconds for fifteen miles. Oldfield's average for the mile was about 57 1/2 seconds, an imposing speed but not near his record. Oldfield attributed this to the increasing darkness and the large amount of dust raised. Oldfield found the Overland track to be

PAGE 113

108 in fine condition, and allowed that it would be some time before he raced on "another just like it.,,7 August 27, 1904, saw an extensive program of automobile racing at Denver's Overland Park. Sponsored by the Colorado Automobile Club, under sanction from the Automobile Club of America, and conducted under the rules of that club, the day featured twelve events. The first event, a five mile race for stock gasoline cars and non-professional drivers, began immediately after the grand parade of all the entered vehicles. The program featured all manner of classes, including stock cars, those "rigged to suit the operator," gasoline, steam, and electric powered cars. Drivers included M. J. Patterson and his Franklin; G. A. Maxwell driving a Peerless; Charles Bilz driving both a White and Grout steamers in separate races; Lawrence Phipps entered both his Peerless and Mercedes; and Oliver P. Fritchle driving "Fritchle's Rocket," a specially built electric. Many drivers drove more than one car during the day, sometimes for an owner who was driving another car in the same race. Of special interest was the tenth race, which featured three ladies piloting their own cars in a two mile heat. The twelfth race was reserved for motorcycles. Other events included a touring car race, in which the cars had a full load, and were judged on appearance and performance; and a special challenge race open to all comers, of five miles, from a flying start.8 Barney Oldfield returned to Overland Park on November 5, 1904. Oldfield was there with the stated intention of trying for all

PAGE 114

109 the track records from one to fifty miles. Unusual tire wear prevented him from the longer races, but he did manage to set seventeen records in two days. Oldfield turned in times of less than a minute for each mile run. His attempts at the various records were spaced between the scheduled races of the day, raced against the clock rather than against other drivers. Motor Field stated Oldfield would never be beaten by "any but a premier driver and one who understands the game thoroughly.,,9 Another form of racing took the form of hill climbs. Prior to the now famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb, the Colorado Motor Club sponsored similar events on the hills surrounding Denver. In 1905, the race was northwest of Sacred Heart College, and featured grades of up to ten percent. The next year, the race was south of town by Loretto Academy, and had grades of up to twelve percent. These races were well attended by both spectators and contestants. There were classes for all kinds of automobiles, including steam and electric cars, as well as those set up for racing.lO Labor Day and Memorial Day races became popular outings for the Denver Motor club. The races featured events for all comers, and some featured large purses. Endurance races were popular, and the local dealers entered as many cars as they could. These outings not only served to show off new cars, but allowed some of the drivers opportunities to make names for themselves. Several, notably Fred Trinkle, Albert DeGas ton and Lynn Mathewson were later invited to drive factory cars in the Glidden Tours.

PAGE 115

110 The annual Labor Day race at Overland Park was marred in 1907 by the deaths of two men in the fifty mile stock car race. A blown tire in the fifth mile caused the death of C. V. Dasey, driving a large fifty horsepower Apperson Jackrabbit. The punctured tire caused Dasey to lose control, and be thrown from the car. He died instantly from a broken neck. The other driver killed was William B. Felker of the Felker Automobile Company. At about the thirty-sixth mile, Felker's right front tire came apart. It seemed that Felker managed to keep control of his Stevens and was slowing down. He then speeded up, possibly to avoid a collision, and lost control. The Stevens followed the Thomas entry through the fence. Felker's car hit a tree and Felker was ejected, flying through the air. "I saw Felker was done for" reported Harold Brinker, the driver of the Thomas, "and rushed to his machine. It was at high speed when I shut it off. It was yards beyond where he lay and was jammed in between trees and bushes." Felker had been worried about the wear of his tires, and had arranged for regular changes throughout the race. He was of the opinion that the driver whose crew could change tires the fastest would win the race. The result of the accidents was the decision to cancel all racing events at Overland Park for the immediate future. Felker had been continually involved in the automobile business since 1899. Prior to that he had been engaged in the mercantile business in the boom days in Leadville and the bicycle business in Denver. Felker was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 1866, and graduated from Denver High School in 1884. He was survived by

PAGE 116

his mother, wife, and daughter. The Felker Automobile Company continued under the management of G. A. Maxwell.l2 111 Speed contests continued, but for a time none were held at Overland Park. The 1908 Memorial Day race was held on a thirty two mile route laid out north of town since automobile racing was still banned at Overland. The race was an endurance run laid out over "ordinary country roads." Beginning at the Model road house northeast of Denver, the course extended north to Barr. From Barr, the racers passed through the K & B ranch and turned west to Brighton. After reaching Brighton, the track headed back south through Henderson back to the starting point. The race was scheduled for ten laps or 320 miles. Attendance at ther ace was estimated at forty thousand. Repair stations were positioned along the course by the representatives of the various manufacturers who had cars entered. At these stations "some of the quickest repairs probably in the history of motoring were made." The cars were refueled, tires changed, and needed repairs made by the crews stationed "to keep the great speed killing machines on their wheels." Ten cars were entered and eight actually started. The racers started at four minute intervals beginning at exactly 8 A.M. The winner, Lynn Mathewson, crossed the finish line at 4:41 p.m., with a time of eight hours, twenty-six minutes and twenty-one seconds. The second place winner finished with a time of nine hours, fifteen minutes for nine laps. The cars were flagged as they finished the lap they were on after Mathewson completed the course.

PAGE 117

112 Third place was awarded to G. A. Clark, in a Great Smith, after his seventh lap. The other cars did not finish due either to accidents or mechanical failure. Prizes included $450 in cash and the Brown Palace cup to the winner, and a one hundred dollar cup to the driver who made the fastest lap of the day. This was small consolation to the driver, Clarence Lovern, who blew a tire on the sixth lap and ditched his sixty H. P. Thomas. Lovern and his mechanic were not seriously injured, but the car was "badly smashed. ,,12 Racing continued throughout the season and the next several years, but not on the scale of the Memorial Day race of 1908. It continued as a popular attraction to not only spectators, but to the racers as well. The newspapers began to see racing as a sporting event and not as front page news. Soon, only short reports of the day's racing appeared buried in the sports section, along with the activities of the Denver Bears and other local sporting events.

PAGE 118

113 NOTES--CHAPTER #10 1. Denver Times, September 10, 1903. 2. Cycling West and Motor Field, May, 1902, 10. 3. Cycling West, June 21, 1900, 12. 4. Denver Republican, October 26, 1903. 5. At this time, White built steamers exclusively. 6. Denver Republican, October 30, 1903. 7. Ibid. 8. Denver Republican, August 25, 1904. 9. Motor Field, November, 1904, 18. 10. Motor Field, October, 1906, 19-23. 1I. Motor Field, September, 1907, 19-23. 12. Motor Field, June, 1908, 15-22.

PAGE 119

114 CHAPTER ELEVEN THE GLIDDEN TOUR COMES TO DENVER Long distance reliability runs became a popular method of proving the mettle of the automobile generally and individual makes specifically. The most prestigious of these events was the annual Glidden Reliability Run. Started in 1904 by telephone magnate Charles J. Glidden, these tours were intended to prove the reliability of the automobile over long distances. The cars were to be factory stock vehicles driven by their owners. A large trophy was awarded to the contestant with the best score.l This was based on a number of things, including the fewest number of repairs and the proximity of the elapsed time of the tourist to the average time for the group as a whole.2 Despite the rules, winning the Glidden Trophy carried so much prestige that manufacturers began to build cars especially for the run, and enter special factory teams in attempts to win.3 The tours became races, and local police took great delight in arresting the tourists as they sped through towns. The original purpose of the tours was lost, and they were discontinued in 1914.4 The arrival of the Glidden Tour in Colorado attracted a great deal of interest in Denver's sporting circles. Starting in Detroit, the cars passed through Colorado, stopping in Denver for a three day rest stop before proceeding on to Kansas City, where the

PAGE 120

115 tour would end. The appearance of the cars on the eastern plains caused great excitement in Denver. The local newspapers competed among themselves to see who could reach the arriving tourists first. The Rocky Mountain News got Eaton McMillan to drive photographer Ralph Baird towards Julesburg in his Colburn "40" racer. Travelling some seventy miles out into the country, the duo encountered the arriving Glidden cars. After photographing the Gliddenites, McMillan and Baird started for horne. The route followed the Rock Island Railroad line for some twenty miles. Along the route, they encountered the "Rocky Mountain Limited," the "crack train" of the Rock Island. McMillan decided to race the train, and quickly passed it. According to Baird, the train never "had a lookin. ,,5 Following at a more sedate pace was the News-Times Crawford,. carrying a load of reporters towards Bennett. The thirtytwo mile run was accomplished in fifty-three minutes. Upon encountering the Studebaker pilot car, the party escorted it through Bennett and into Watkins. They then turned around and ventured back into the prairie to find the "real" Gliddenites. Arriving in Bennett, the reporters found the second pathfinder auto arriving. The occupants of the pathfinder showered the Denverites with "big bunches of green and white confetti" used to mark the route. The next car to arrive was the Boston Herald press car. The reporters stopped to compare notes and wait for the oncoming tourists. The first car was the pacesetter Premier with former Denver resident Webb Jay at the wheel. Four other cars were in the first group, and they

PAGE 121

116 continually changed positions on their way into Denver. Other Denver papers sending cars included another car from the Times, the Denver Republican, and the Denver Post.6 The route into Denver involved following the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad for a while. As the second pilot car, charged with marking the route, followed the tracks, it encountered a special train running into Denver. Unable to resist a challenge, the driver, R. J. May, began to race the train. May was holding his own against the train when suddenly the car burst into flames. The auto was quickly stopped and the occupants exited the flaming vehicle. It was determined that while racing the train at forty miles an hour, a cinder from the locomotive had lodged in the bags of confetti, igniting it. The flaming confetti was removed from the car and extinguished. The pace car then resumed its route toward Denver, having suffered only a scorched back seat. Another accident marred the day's touring. A Thomas, sponsored by Motor Age magazine, touring as a non-contestant, attempted to cross a bridge near Bennett. Several other cars had crossed the bridge in quick succession, and battered the structure. As the heavy Thomas began to cross, the bridge partially collapsed. Twenty minutes later, the Thomas had been carefully removed from the wreckage of the bridge while other cars lined up to cross. Another hour was spent in repairing the bridge so the others could cross, a fence being torn down to effect repairs. Tour Chairman Frank B. Hower leveled his only recorded criticism of the Denver Motor Club at that point, saying only "the Denver boys should have fixed that. ,,7

PAGE 122

117 As the contestants drove down Montview Boulevard, they were greeted by cheers, a great honking of horns, and "several bombs were shot off." The cars continued toa rrive well into the evening, and each was escorted by members of the Denver Motor Club. The last car, the Glide, appeared at the Brown Palace at eight p.m., ending speculation as to its fate. Each car stopped at Eighteenth and Pennsylvania Streets for needed oil, water, and gasoline. At this stop, each car was inspected for repairs, which would result in a penalty. 8 The tourists were then taken to the Brown Palace Hotel, and the cars parked in the triangle bounded by Fourteenth Street, Court Place, and West Colfax. There, in an area surrounded by barriers covered in red, white, and blue bunting, each car was covered with a canvas blanket, and "committed to the care of special watchmen for the night. ,,9 After checking in at the Brown Palace, the tourists were taken to the headquarters of the Denver Motor Club for refreshment. A band played throughout the afternoon in front of the club, and alight luncheon was served. The contestants were also provided with special motor club currency for use at the club's bar. The coins were still being used at a late hour that evening.10 The next day, Sunday, the tourists were to be greeted by six hundred Denver autos and driven about town. Later, they were treated to a luncheon in the rooms of the Denver Motor Club, with entertainment provided by an orchestra. That evening, the club hosted a grand banquet at the White City Casino at Lakeside. The

PAGE 123

118 drivers were entertained by "a dozen or so pretty girls of the city," sitting in decorations consisting of Ford, Hudson and Chalmers automobiles. The girls, from Joslin's: with horns and fetching voices ... drove away all care and thoughts of the hard trip that lies before the men, who have shown how possible are automobile trips from coast to coast. After the banquet, which was pronounced "fit for kings, speeches and toasts by Mr. Glidden, Senator Thomas M. Patterson, and others completed the evening.ll Monday, the Gliddenites left at 8:30 on the Colorado and Southern Railroad for a day trip to Mount McClellan, where "they will enjoy the pleasures of an outing in the heart of the Rockies. The day's outing included the Colorado and Southern loop between Georgetown and Silver Plume, and an ascent of the 14,007 foot Mount McClellan via the Argentine Central Railroad.12 While seeing the sights Monday afternoon, one Glilddenite suffered a mishap. Driving in a Brush borrowed form local agent and tour participant Fred A. Trinkle, Will B. Wreford crashed into a picket fence at Tulleries Gardens. Wreford was motoring down a hill near the tea garden when a man and woman stepped into his path. While swerving to miss the pedestrians, Wreford hit the fence, and the car climbed up, breaking 22 pickets at different lengths, sounding "like the chromatic scale of a poorly tuned piano. The car stopped when it reached the top, and perched there. The Japanese proprietor of the tea garden came rushing out, and "without having noticed or asked if anyone had been hurt, demanded $3.00 apiece" for the damaged pickets. After negotiations, Wreford agreed to pay a

PAGE 124

119 small sum in damages and arrange for the repair of the fence. The -only damage to the car was a bent mudguard, which was easily fixed after the car was removed from atop the fence.13 Other tourists, having gone on the planned excursion to the top of Mount mcClellan, found out the hard way that they were 14,000 feet above sea level. Leaving the train after the long ride, they decided that they could use some exercise. Several decided to race to the summit. Most did not make it, and all suffered some ill effects from the lack of oxygen. The event was soon forgotten in anticipation of the lunch provided by the Denver Motor Club. The club actually supplied two lunches, one on the way up, and another on the way back. Other refreshments were available as well, and the whole outing was viewed as good fun.14 One driver for the Chalmers-Detroit Company brought not only souvenirs from Detroit, but also "a full supply of Detroit atmosphere along with him." Jean Bemb had not suffered one flat tire along the route, nor had he needed to change one at any time. Bemb was confident that he could continue with his good luck and finish the contest the winner. His employer, Hugh Chalmers, had promised Bemb a bonus of one thousand dollars if he won.iS Bemb was well known in Denver, as he had raced at Overland Park in the past. He also had taught several Denverites how to operate and care for their machines. Several other drivers were known in Denver as well. Webb Jay, driving a Premier, was formerly the Denver agent for Winton. Fred A. Trinkle, driver of Brush number 103, was a resident of Denver. Another former Denver boy was E. M.

PAGE 125

120 Grady, the driver of a Pierce-Arrow. H. M. Searles, driver of number 14, a White Steamer, was known in Denver as the chauffeur to President Roosevelt. When he left Roosevelt's employ, Searles first had to instruct members of the Secret Service of the ooperation of the President's White.16 After their much needed rest, the Glidden tourists began to leave Denver at 7:00 A.M. sharp Tuesday. The day's tour would take them to Colorado Springs, then east to Hugo. The tourists had many good things to say about their reception in Denver, but one criticism in particular abounded. The stop in Denver was to provide rest, and the schedule provided by the Denver Motor Club did not allow for much of that. Nobody was really complaining, however.17 A two hour rest stop was planned in Colorado Springs, followed by departure for Hugo on the eastern plains. Colorado Springs automobiles were determined to make the stay in their city memorable, but were not allowed much time to do so. The tour would be met outside Palmer Lake and the cars escorted into town. Lunch and entertainment would be provided in the shadow of Pike's Peak. The tour resumed towards Hugo at 11 A.M.18 The Glidden tour's stop in Denver proved to be beneficial to the city. A great deal of money was spent, not only by the tourists, but by the local hosts as well. Reproters for Eastern papers sent reports of hospitable treatment, comfortable climate, and lack of hostile indians to their readers back home. Many of the tourists were astounded to find so many motor cars in the middle of the Great American Desert. One wrote:

PAGE 126

Easterners who are making the tour have had their eyes opened to Western conditions. They were surprised at the number of automobiles owned in this part of the country. Not only has each city, town and hamlet passed through its quota of automobiles, but the farmers were well represented as motor car owners. 121 The favorable impressions the tourists carried back home had to reach the ears of their fellow club members. The warm welcome the Glidden Tourists received in Denver had to have resulted in a large boost to the fledgling tourism industry in Colorado. As a result of the favorable publicity, Denver must have seen increased tourism in the years following the tour.19 The existence of the Glidden tour had benefits to the automotive industry as well. Automobile manufacturers proved that they were able to build a machine that could travel across country that was lacking in roads. At the same time, participants took advantage of publicity surrounding the tours to push for improved roads across the country. Local automobile dealers could look forward to an increase in sales during the tours due to newspaper reports of the scores of the Glidden machines. In general, the Glidden tours provided a positive light on the automobile industry to the American public.

PAGE 127

NOTES--CHAPTER #11 1. John B. Rae, The American Automobile, (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1965), 31. 122 2. Michael L. Berger, The Devil Wagon in God's Country. The Automobile and Social Change in Rural America. 1893-1929, (Hamden: Archon Books, 1979), 27. 3. Rae, 3l. 4. Berger, 27. 5. Rocky Mountain News, July 25, 1909. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. Denver Republican, July 25, 1909. 9. Rocky Mountain News, July 25, 1909. 10. Ibid. 11. Denver Republican, July 26, 1909. 12. Ibid. 13. Denver Republican, July 27, 1909. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Denver Republican, July 25, 1909. 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid. 19. Denver Republican, July 27, 1909.

PAGE 128

123 CHAPTER TWELVE CONCLUSION As the Glidden tourists left Denver for Kansas City, a change was being wrought upon American motoring. Henry Ford had introduced the now famous Model 'T' in 1908. Ford had set out to produce a car that would be suitable for the mass market. The Model 'T' was the result of that quest. Originally priced at $850, the car was a medium priced machine. Other cars, such as the Brush, could be purchased for around five hundred dollars, but they were smaller, cheaply built, and under powered.l By 1909, the price of a Model 'T' had crept up to $950, but from 1910 on, the cost dropped steadily to a low of $260 in 1925.2 Full production line assembly of the 'T' in 1914 allowed Ford to produce more cars at a lower unit cost, and increase wages of some workers to five dollars a day. As prices came down, more and more people were able to obtain an automobile, causing a new series of problems for pedestrians, city fathers, and merchants. The farmer could now go to town when he pleased, the city dwellers could abandom the streetcars and interurbans, and the tourist could sightsee without the restrictions imposed by public transportation.3 The automobile was rapidly accepted and used throughout the west. By 1909, farmers were proud to state that they owned an automobile.4 City dwellers were equally proud of their machines, and

PAGE 129

124 tourists eagerly piled into sightseeing busses to visit local attractions. The lack of roads hampered the Western automobilist, but it did not stop him. Prairie conditions allowed for fairly easy overland travel where established roads were lacking.S In the Southewest [New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, southern California], the auto was as popular as it was farther north. The cities and towns had quite a few cars prior to 1910, and their drivers were willing to take them cross-country at the slightest provocation. In some areas of Arizona and California, roads of wooden planks were built to help automobilists negotiate sandy areas. Other roads in the region were nothing but bone-jarring trails, and cross-country travel frequently required detours to get around deep ravines.6 Photographs in Motor Field and Horseless Age indicate that the horseless carriage was quickly adopted both in California and the Midwest. these areas had a better system of roads than the West and Southwest, due in part to a longer period of settlement. California's automobile associations worked towards gaining acceptance of the automobile, and had a larger percentage of citizens that could purchase a horseless carriage.7 Automobiling in the South did not fare as well as other parts of the country. Manufacturers were unwilling to send their products to the Southern states. They cited the poor condition of the Southern economy and the deplorable condition of the roads as detrimental to profitable sales. The first car was sold in Atlanta in 1901, but by the end of 1905, only ninety-nine cars registered in

PAGE 130

125 the city, most probably imported by their owners. Atlanta had only four automobile dealers in 1908, and the rest of the South was also lacking in dealers. Mobile had three dealers in 1908, and New Orleans had seven.8 Boosters in the South saw that auto-related businesses could help the ailing economy. A new industry would require new buildings to meet the special needs of the automobile. Service and supply companies would also be necessary to support the auto once it was in use. The problem was to convince the manufacturers that there was a market for the automobile in the South.9 Not until 1909 were enthusiasts able to convince the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers to sponsor a national auto show in Atlanta. The enthusiastic response of the southerners surprised the manufacturers. The positive reaction to the motor car convinced more manufacturers to pursue agency agreements in the South. By the end of 1910, Atlanta had acquired thirty new dealerships, New Orleans thirteen and Mobile four. In 1910, 1,628 automobiles were registered in Atlanta, almost doubling 1909's record of 832 registrations.lO While manufacturers viewed lack of roads as a detriment to sales of the automobile, motorists did not share the opinion. Several trans-continental trips were undertaken in 1903. The first successful trip took sixty-four days. By 1910, factory sponsored teams had reduced this time to ten days. The Glidden Tours started in 1904, and these long distance trips served not only to demonstrate the reliability of the automobile, but they also showed the

PAGE 131

deplorable condition of the nation's roads. While "good" roads existed, good was a relative term.11 126 When a trans-continental trip sponsored by the Franklin Motor Company passed through Denver in 1904, the drivers found a warm welcome from a number of enthusiastic automobile fans. Denverites had taken up the horseless carriage almost as quickly as their cousins in the East. There were ten dealers in Denver, all actively engaged in trade throughout the Rocky Mountain region. The lack of adequate roads did not seem to deter manufacturers from shopping cars to Denver, but demand always seemed to exceed supply. The dealers sponsored auto shows to keep the public aware of changes in their products, and allow those interested in acquiring an automobile to compare the merits of the various makes.12 Denver had been forced to make changes in its lifestyle to accommodate the automobile. Citizens now had to worry about being run down by a speeding "scoot buggy." The number of automobiles in Denver in 1902 made the city fathers decide to enact laws to control the pperation of the machines. Legislation enacted and changed in response to pressure from both citizen's groups and the automobile interests. Denver had begun to respond to the growing popularity of the automobile long before 1908 and the introduction of Ford's Model 'T.' Unlike cities such as Atlanta, that had to cope with an almost overnight infusion of automobiles, Denver had time to adjust to the problems of the automobile before they got out of hand. This is not to say that "Lizzie" would not create problems of her own, but

PAGE 132

127 the initial changes wrought on Denver by the automobile had occurred prior to the introduction of the Model 'T.' In 1910, "Lizzie" was still a fairly expensive car, and its appeal was still limited to those that could pay for it. In the next decade, however, as prices came down, Lizzie's existence would require new laws to control traffic, parking, and registration. By the end of 1910, Denver had not been as affected by the "Model Til as it was by the initial development of the automobile. Denver became a motoring city almost as soon as the horseless carriage was available. The automobile became so popular that gradually news of it became old hat, and newspapers quit coverage of all but the most spectacular events involving the machine. A new attraction was looming on the horizon, h9wever. Lynn Mathewson planned to begin building the new mechanical toy, the aeroplane. Others saw aircraft as the transportation of the future. Several dealers set up shop in Denver and tried to sell airplanes to the public. The novelty lasted for a while but soon wore off. The automobile remained first in the hearts of Denver's citizens. The automobile in Denver started a trend that continues even today. Denverites are unwilling to give up the independence afforded them by their cars, and make use of public transportation. The "streetcar suburbs" quickly became automobile suburbs, and contributed to the demise ofthe streetcars. Today, mass transit cannot maintain enough ridership to operate without subsidy, and even those who cannot afford an automobile feel that they must own one.

PAGE 133

128 NOTES--CHAPTER #12 1. John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1971), 57-59. 2. G. N. Georgano, The Complete Book of Motor Cars, (New York, e. P. Dutton and Company, 1973), 303. 3. Rae, 61-63. 4. Denver Republican, July 27, 1909. 5. Albert D. Manchester, Trails Begin Where Rails End, (Glendale, Ca., Trans-Anglo Books, 1987), 29. 6. Ibid., 29-31. 7. Ibid. 8. Howard L. Preston, Automobile Age Atlanta, (Athens, Ga., University of Georgia Press, 1979), 18-50. 9. Ibid., 18-19. 10. Ibid., 37-50. 11. Manchester, 29. 12. Ibid.

PAGE 134

129 BIBLIOGRAPHY Automobile Quarterly, The American Car Since 1775. New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1971. Berger, Michael L. The Devil Wagon in God's Country, The Automobile and Social Change in Rural America. 1893-1929. Hamden: Archon Books, 1979. Brownell, Slaine A. and David R. Goldfield, eds. The City in Southern History: The Growth of Urban Civilization in the South. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1977. Clymer, Floyd. Automobile Scrapbook, vol. 3. Los Angeles: Clymer Motors, 1952. Flink, James J. America Adopts the Automobile. 1895-1910. Cambridge: The MIT press, 1970. Georgano, G. N., ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of Motorcars, 1885 to the Present. London: George Rainbird Ltd, 1973. Hill, Frank Ernest. The Automobile. How It Came, Grew, and Changed Our Lives. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1967. Kimes, Beverly Rae, Packard-A History of the Motor Car and the Company. Princeton: Princeton Publishing Company, 1978. Manchester, Albert D., Trails Begin Where Rails End. Glendale, Ca.: Trans-Anglo Books, 1987. Preston, Howard L. Automobile Age Atlanta. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1979. Rae, John B. The Road and the Car in American Life. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1971. The American Automobile. A Brief History. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1965. Shacket, Sheldon R., The Complete Book of Electric Vehicles. Chicago: Domus Books, 1979.

PAGE 135

130 ARTICLES Hafen, LeRoy, "The Coming of the Automobile and Improved Roads to Colorado," Colorado Magazine, vo1. 8, #1, January, 1931, pp. 1-16. NEWSPAPERS Colorado Springs Gazette Denver Post Denver Republican Denver Times Pueblo Chieftain Rocky Mountain News PERSONAL INTERVIEWS Ray Amundsen Clifford O. Fritch1e LETTERS Letter from Rex McKelvey with his recollections of automobile manufacturing in Colorado. Collection of the author. Letter from Arthur G. Rippey recalling some of his research into automobiles as owner of the Veteran Car Museum in Denver. Collection of the author. PERIODICALS Cycling West The Cycling West and Motor Field Horseless Carriage Gazette Denver Municipal Facts Horseless Age Motor Field

PAGE 136

OTHER SOURCES David W. Brunton Diary, Colorado Historical Society. Dawson Scrapbooks, Colorado Historical Society. Denver Building Permit Collection, Denver Public Library. Denver City Directory. Denver Municipal Code, 1906. Fritch1e Electric sales catalogue for 1914, Clifford o. Fritch1e collection. Historic Building Inventory, City and County of Denver. Photograph Collection, Denver Public Library. Photograph Collection, Colorado Historical Society. 131