The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

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The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by Steve Simmons » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:31 pm

Please note: The images in this thread are copyrighted by the owner. Do not reproduce them or post elsewhere without express permission of the owner. Links to this thread are ok of course

The Horseshoe Route was established in 1913. Along this route, adventurous souls could pay for a tour of the area around Yosemite National Park by automobile. A friend of mine has uncovered a photo album belonging to his late grandfather, who was a chauffeur / mechanic for the tour company. Below are his images and descriptions.

He writes: "The autos are touring cars, Whites and Pierces, that were driven from the Merced Railroad station by "Chauffeur/mechanics" with tourists. They stayed at the Wawona and were driven through the Mariposa tree. I have a number of pictures of these people, with grandpa behind the wheel."

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Album cover - Yosemite Falls/Grandpa in a tree/at Glacier Point/in his White touring car/ Other cars & drivers/ his business card
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In his car
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The Yosemite "Horseshoe Route" drivers cabin
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Photos taken of tourists passing through the Mariposa Grove drive thru tree (now fallen, mainly because of the hole)
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The fallen giant
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Wouldn't want to cross this gal. Grandpa said she was his girl friend. He liked big women!
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Drivers
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Good times were had here I bet.
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My favorite - I can just hear the African American gent saying "I want to sit in the driver's seat" Grandpa doesn't look amused.
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Is this guy crazy? Doesn't look like Grandpa
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Lots of posing on this overhang
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The line-up
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A horseman on the Fallen Giant - not something anyone does anymore for sure
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Lets everybody get on the tree
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Grandpa leaves Yosemite and an idyllic life, marries Grandma with three kids!
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Born Johannes August Thews (pronounced TEVS) in Alsace Lorraine, then Germany, now France, in 1884. Confirmed in Evangelischen Kirche in Primrose, Iowa in 1899
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Early days in Primrose, a first class American
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1963, aged 79, with sister Clara and brother Julius. Died 1968 in San Francisco

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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by gorms68 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:26 pm

What an incredible collection of photos Steve! At least the photos survive now. I wonder if some of his stories have been passed down as well. Would make for a wonderful book on a time long lost in this digital age.
Chris Gorman

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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by malcolmr18zoy » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:21 pm

That's a wonderful post Steve. Those cars look old even for 1913. Was the White a steamer?
Malcolm

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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by Steve Simmons » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:45 pm

I don't think the white was a steamer because it has a standard-looking radiator. But you and Chris probably know more about it than I do.

Also, I don't know that these photos were actually from 1913 since the business merely started that year. I don't know how long it remained in business or if they ever replaced the vehicles with more modern ones. I wonder if they got the cars new, or as old used tourers. One photo has a date of 1914 (snowy overhang) but age of the rest are a mystery to me.

A couple of things I noticed in the drive-through tree photos were how bald the tires are in some of the photos (compare front tires to rear and spares in first one) and the reflection of the American flag in the windscreen. You can tell which way the wind was blowing in each of the photos where it is visible. I also like the two vents on the top of the hood (bonnet for you brits).

Also, I found this on eBay this afternoon...
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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by Fifty Six MGA » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:39 pm

I used to do a lot of rock climbing, when I was younger and lighter. I've spent more time in Yosemite than I can remember, at one point I had a job where I worked 6 weeks on, 2 off, and my 2 off were mostly spent in Yosemite. It's a place near and dear to my heart. I'd love to take the MGA (or another classic) there someday. I loved these pictures. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by malcolmr18zoy » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:00 pm

The White could still be a steamer Steve. On a steam car, the condenser looks a lot like a radiator, and I used to maintain a white steam car from 1907 that looked a lot like that car.
Malcolm

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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by Steve Simmons » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:17 pm

Geoff, just do it! I've been to Yosemite many times in our '49 TC. In fact, both myself and the gentleman who sent all these great photos were there in our TCs just a week and a half ago. It's a great trip. I would be happy to share our route with you to avoid the interstate highways.

A photo to give you inspiration...
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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by VWNate1 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:52 am

TERRIFIC ! .

Thank you for sharing , Steve .
-Nate

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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by Fifty Six MGA » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:48 am

Steve Simmons wrote:Geoff, just do it! I've been to Yosemite many times in our '49 TC. In fact, both myself and the gentleman who sent all these great photos were there in our TCs just a week and a half ago. It's a great trip. I would be happy to share our route with you to avoid the interstate highways.

A photo to give you inspiration...
tough to leave Hazel at home alone. :eek: I need a classic with a rear seat. Soon.

Also, Kim (nor I, really) doesn't trust the MG beyond the 125 mile tow coverage we have. Not yet anyway...
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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by tannyo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:26 pm

Please share the route Steve.

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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by Steve Simmons » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:46 pm

I already gave it to you last time you drove there! :hammer:

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Re: The Horseshoe Route, One Hundred Years Ago

Post by Steve Simmons » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:29 am

A bit more history on the man in the photos, from the grandson...
You would shed a tear if you knew how much of his stuff disappeared - he had boxes of postcards from his brothers and sister wherever they travelled. message would something like, "well here I am in Chicago". that would be it. He had tools , tools, tools. He would always make himself a newspaper hat when he was doing any mechanical work. A lost art, that. I have his tool box, handmade, that he carried in the shop Essex when he went on the road to repair trucks that were made by his last employer, Gar Wood (of speedboat fame - a restuarant at Tahoe is named Gar Wood). I have his valve lapper, model T wrenches, etc. When he moved from his house across the street to my parents place, we must have dumped 20 Model T wooden coil boxes - aiieeyy!

I visited his town, Primrose, in Iowa one time. I had the computer operations responsibility for my company's plant in northern Iowa, so went down one visit to check it out. I found the town cemetery, where most of his relatives were buried.

A couple of families emigrated to America before the turn of the century to this tiny town, where everyone was quite religious (Evangelicals don't you know). It didn't rub off on Grandpa.

There are holes in the family history, but we believe Grandma was quite dissatified with my actual Grandfather and when Grandpa Jack came back from Yosemite, she dumped one and married the other. My blood grandfather has a fantastic history too. I'll tell you about him and THAT family next time we get together. Hint: Grandpa's brother is in the Yukon Hall of Fame, there's a dog sled race run annually, named for him - http://www.thepercy.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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