Week 12: #52 Ancestors – Popular

By Eilene Lyon

I doubt I’d get much argument if I say that motor vehicles have been one of mankind’s most popular inventions. My great-grandfather, Charles Edward Smith, adopted the technology as soon as he could afford it. He had a grocery delivery business in Moscow, Latah County, Idaho, and found trucks preferable to horse-drawn wagons.

C.E. Smith passed his love of cars, trucks, and motorcycles to his children. I’ve shared a few of these photos before, but this seems like a good time to showcase the Smith family’s appreciation for motorized transportation. (Click on images to see larger versions.)

The transition period from wagons to trucks.
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Ford Model T
1915 GMC truck.

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The family’s first “4-wheel drive” with Laurence and Loren Smith “at the wheel.”

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A couple images of Leon’s Excelsior motorcycle.

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Clifford Smith in 1928 Chrysler.
Harry Smith with his sons, Don (left) and Wes (right), at their service station in Moscow, Idaho.


Feature image: Leon Smith driving the first Smith delivery truck

29 thoughts on “Motoring

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      1. We’d have to drive the backroads and see a lot of stops. Darn. I guess it was all backroads then, but certainly no less comfortable than a stagecoach. We’re pretty soft these days, I admit, but men and women of the eras? Durable, tough, and short lived. Now we regulate that. Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Loved the photos. An invention that sure made life a lot easier, although the first four wheel drive is the cutest! Those tear drop trailers, like in the last photo, are making a big come back! Dawson City, Yukon still has the wooden sidewalks and dirt roads, that’s part of its charm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just had to throw in the donkey photo – too cute. Silverton, Colorado still has dirt streets and patches of wooden sidewalks. Only the main road (Greene St.) is paved. It’s a charming place.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to get a little annoyed when I go to Oregon, because self-serve gas isn’t allowed, but I’ve started getting used to it. I do remember the full service from my childhood, too. The bell would ding when you rolled over the tube.

      I just love these old car photos!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Self serve isn’t allowed in New Jersey either. Whenever I would visit, I had to remember that.

        Reminds me of the old garages too. Each one had its own personality back in the day. No franchise superstores, it was all pop and son stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve taken at least one photo of every car (and motorcycle) I’ve owned, so I guess you’re right about that. We tend to have an intimate relationship with our vehicles. Oh the stories they could tell!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t know you came from a family of motor heads, Eilene. Really cools pictures! I especially like the Smith family service station photo. Instead of Moscow, Idaho, it could easily be Mayberry NC. Although the days of full service gasoline stations are all but gone here in the USA, we found them to be alive and well in Chile. Just like the old days, uniformed attendants still wash your windshield and check your oil while filling the tank. Regrettably, they have discontinued the bow ties.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s cool to hear about service in Chile, but regrettable about the bow ties – so dapper! I love that photo, too. I also had some real gear heads on my dad’s side of the family, but they weren’t as diligent about photographing all their vehicles.

      Liked by 1 person

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