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THAT REMINDS ME: 1914: Dusty GF-Lakota roundtrip takes 14 hours

Marilyn Hagerty

World War 1 was brewing over in Europe, and the United States was trying to stay neutral 100 years ago this summer.

Here in Grand Forks, the first tour of the Grand Forks Commercial Auto Club for the 1914 was set for July 10. The motorists were planning to leave Grand Forks at 7 a.m. and return by 9:30 p.m.

Their trip would be made on roads along the main line of the Great Northern Railroad between Grand Forks and Lakota, N.D., the Herald reported.

That would be a round-trip distance of about 127 miles, which works out to an average speed of about 9 mph.

E.J. Lander offered his Franklin car to the drive. The men making a preliminary trip would be Lander, W.A. Collins and W.G. McDonald.

For the first general tour of the season, 30 cars were expected to take part and carry 100 passengers. The committee planning the trip asked all participants to wear linen dusters.

The leading pathfinder car would serve as pilot. And a repair car would also go along.


Under the headline of, “Car Accident,” the Herald told of an incident, as follows:

“A machinery salesman for a local firm was taking a friend for a ride last evening when about 4 miles out of the city the connection on the gas tank breaking loose put the lights out of commission with the result of the car going to the ditch. Owing to the low rate of speed, neither of the men were hurt, although one was reported to have made an exit through the windshield.

“The car was badly smashed up, the axle was broken, both wheels were smashed. Its lamps were squashed and twisted, and the front windshield was all broken up. The car, which was a Buick, was so badly damaged it was taken to an auto hospital, where it is reported to be getting along okay.”


Horses were around for a long time after the automobile came into its own. The Herald related a story in the summer of 1914 with the headline, “Delivery horse takes to river; nearly drowns.”

It went as follows:

“A delivery horse attached to one of the wagons of the Colton & Wilder Grocery evidently mistook that portion of the river back of the Grand Forks Creamery on Third and Franklin for the old swimming hole yesterday at 9 a.m.

“The day was hot and sultry and the dobbin evidently decided on a little dip in the ruby Red — suddenly breaking loose from the strap in front of the creamery. The horse made for the river at a 2:40 clip; cleared itself of the wagon at the crest of the hill and with a neigh of delight plunged into the river — lines, traces and shafts floating out behind as it swam boldly upstream.

“The animal must have swam fully one half mile and decided to land by the Red River Power Co. — badly tangled harness made keeping head above water difficult.”

The Herald said the men in a boat threw a rope around the drowning animal.

And the Herald concluded: “The horse was none the worse for its swim in the river. In fact, it seemed to have cooled off.”