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Concordia's First (and only?) Auto Show

 
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roger.pape
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:50 am    Post subject: Concordia's First (and only?) Auto Show Reply with quote

Looking through old photos of Concordia, one that intrigues me is shown below. (Note. There is a similar photo with different cars and people taken at a different time.) What is fascinating about this particular picture is all of the different makes of cars in it. Probably, the most interesting is the car in the front left of the photo. It is a K-R-I-T automobile first produced in Detroit in 1909 until 1916 when they went bankrupt. If you do an on-line search for that car, you will find some unusual information. First of all, the emblem of the front of the radiator and hub caps was a swastika. Since this company also built buses that were used in Europe during WWI, there are various theories about it's possible connection to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis).

The picture was taken in the 700 block of South Main Street in Concordia with the start where Sodeman's Hardware stood. The makes of cars are not those one would expect for owners in the Concordia area. Some cars have advertising on them. All of the drivers in "dust" jackets (or raincoats) appear to be professional men. I'm beginning to think that it was a touring show of newer makes of automobiles that just happened to stop in Concordia (perhaps on their way to Kansas City). Many of the cars have chains on their tires. They were prepared for the muddy roads in those days, since Missouri had a reputation for poor roads in that time.

Does anyone have more information about that event and when it occurred?

Note. The picture below was compressed to fit the screen width of this posting. For a higher resolution copy, go to Automobile parade on the flickr website. You can expand the photo there by clicking on the photo itself or using the down arrow in the lower right corner of the window to select any size.

The second photo appears to be a re-enactment of that event with local car owners or was the similar grouping simply a coincidence.



Automobile parade(1040x780).jpg
 Description:
Automobile show in Concordia, MO during the early 1910s.

From the State Historical Society of Missouri Rehkop/Peterson Collection. Microfilm #C3888, roll 2.
 Filesize:  234.43 KB
 Viewed:  564 Time(s)

Automobile parade(1040x780).jpg



Automobile parade2.jpg
 Description:
Re-enactment or coincidence?

From 1915 postcard.
Also in the State Historical Society of Missouri Rehkop/Peterson Collection. Microfilm #C3888, roll 2.
 Filesize:  618.57 KB
 Viewed:  440 Time(s)

Automobile parade2.jpg




Last edited by roger.pape on Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:07 pm; edited 3 times in total
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:23 am    Post subject: Cross country race? Reply with quote

Some people have suggested that this event might have been part of a cross-country race. If so, why would so many of them stop in Concordia at one time and show off their cars?

It looks more like the automobile group in this photo was part of one of the Glidden Tours sponsored by the AAA. According to Wikipedia, "the AAA, a proponent for safer roads, acceptance of the automobile and automotive-friendly legislation, started the tour to promote public acceptance and bring awareness of their goals". They were quite popular in that era and used to demonstrate the performance and durability of the various makes of cars. This would explain the variety of cars and advertising on some of them. The KRIT Automobile Company was an active participant in these tours during the company's existence.
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roger.pape
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:15 am    Post subject: Explanation of Car Group in Second Photo Reply with quote

While browsing through some old articles from The Concordian, I ran across an article in the 'Out of the Past' series from a few years ago that contained the same photo as the second picture in the posting above. It stated that it was taken during a pastor's conference held at Bethel Evangelical Church in Concordia during 1915. It was then reproduced on a picture postcard. This may explain why the people in the automobiles were dressed in their "Sunday best" clothes. If they were from out-of-town, it would be difficult to identify the people. [Pretty affluent group of delegates. Most of the people in Concordia were still riding in horse-and-buggies then. Notice one in the background.]

Was the fact that the configuration and location of the group of automobiles resembles that of the group in the earlier photo a mere coincidence? But then one might realize that the photo was taken from the upper front porch of the old Commercial Hotel. The photographer probably remembered the location from the earlier grouping and had them assemble there.
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roger.pape
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:49 pm    Post subject: Missouri's Muddy Roads Reply with quote

Early motorist in the 1910s had to contend with notoriously muddy roads. Several pictures below illustrate road conditions in the rainy seasons. Missouri had a particularly bad reputation. People were concerned that cross-country traffic would avoid the state (although conditions in other states were not much better). The first to address the problem was Governor Elliot Major with his “Good Roads Proclamation’ in July 1913. He requested that every able bodied man in the state devote two days that August to laboring on public highways. He and Governor Hodges of Kansas joined in the work. There is a good description of his efforts in the October 1913 issue of Better Roads, pp 45-51. In the years that followed, people staged various road tours continuing to promote efforts to improve road conditions. That culminated in the Missouri’s Nov. 1920 $60 million bond issue to “Lift Missouri Out of the Mud” which resulted in the completion of major highways through the state such as U.S. 40 through Concordia by the mid 1920s.

Another article in the Concordian 'Out of the Past' series entitled “Road Boosters” also included the first photo I had posted above with the tongue-in-check title of “Automobile show in Concordia”. The Concordian article had the caption shown below. However I have a problem with their identification, particularly the date of 1920. First of all, if you compare the background in both that photo and the one from the 1915 postcard, particularly the tree growth and boardwalk, they appear to have been taken at essentially the same period of time. Notice that there is no railroad crossing sign north of the fire house. This sign appears in a 1917 photo relating to a WWI rally, so the sign had been erected by then. Secondly, the vintage of the cars in the photo all appear to be from the mid-1910s. I don't see any that appear to be close to 1920. And why all the advertising on the automobiles? What do you think?

A bit of trivia.

In 1926, future President Harry S. Truman was named president of the National Old Trails Road Association. As the new president of the association, Truman periodically drove the National Old Trails Road from coast to coast and met with members of the association in each State to discuss improvement of their segments. He enjoyed the travels, but he missed his wife Bess and their young daughter Margaret, as reflected in the many letters he wrote to his wife while on the road. At one point, he told Bess, "This is almost like campaigning for President, except that the people are making promises to me instead of the other way around." Truman's name would remain on the letterhead of the National Old Trails Road Association well into the late 1940s, listed as "president". [Wikipedia]



MuddyRoads.jpg
 Description:
From the State Historical Society of Missouri Rehkop/Peterson Collection. Microfilm #C3888, roll 18.
 Filesize:  305.75 KB
 Viewed:  442 Time(s)

MuddyRoads.jpg



MiredInMud.jpg
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MiredInMud.jpg



RoadBoosterArticle.JPG
 Description:
Photo caption from The Concordian "Out of the Past" article.
 Filesize:  228.41 KB
 Viewed:  442 Time(s)

RoadBoosterArticle.JPG


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