Monday, December 17, 2012

First Automobile

When examining early postcards of Alamo Plaza, there are few clues as to the actual date of the photo. Photos like the one below could date anywhere from 1890 to 1908. A few days ago I notice the automobile parked along the plaza. I am not good at identifying autos but I thought I would do a little research to see when the first autos started to arrive in San Antonio.

Alamo Plaza ca. 1901

Close-up of auto in the above postcard.

The First Auto

I discovered the the first automobile in San Antonio was an unidentified electric auto that arrived in 1899. The first gasoline powered auto was a Haynes-Apperson that arrived in 1901. It was purchased by J. D. Anderson, who was head cashier at City National Bank. The Haynes-Apperson cost $1,795.00, equivalent to about $45,000 today. The automobile in the postcard looks very much like an early Haynes-Apperson, Considering that it was probably the only one of it's kind in San Antonio. I do not think it is to much of a stretch to say that, the auto in the postcard is the same one. It would also stand to reason that, if it is J. D. Anderson's car, then one of the men standing next to it is likely, J. D. Anderson.

Which brings me back to my original topic, which is the date of the photo. Since we know the auto arrived in 1901 and the card was used on Feb. 7, 1907, we now have a better idea of the date. This photo was taken between 1901 and Feb. 1907, although I believe it is closer to 1901. I could just imagine, the owner of the first gas powered auto, bringing it out to a popular public location like this and showing off his new "toy".

For an article on the first autos in San Antonio, see Automobiles in San Antonio

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