Square Automobiles

Did you know…

If you’ve been on a tour of the Rosson House Museum, you may have heard about S.W. Higley and his 1908 blue Mitchell.  What you may not know is that Mr. Higley also owned a 1906 Kissel Kar, and even owned a Mitchell car dealership.  Cars, as they say, ran in the family – Mr. Higley’s eldest son, Tom, sold Pratt 40 automobiles.  (Examples of a 1904 Mitchell Runabout shown to the right, and a 1909 Kissel Kar shown below.)

In the wide open spaces of the west, any mode of transportation that got you from one place to another in a timely fashion was popular, and the horseless carriage was no exception. But it was difficult to drive the newfangled vehicles with no road rules, safety features, stop lights or signs, and very few if any paved roads (not to mention the skittish horses and carriage drivers, and the lack of driver training!).  The rough going and frequency of crashes in the automobiles hardly seemed to dent anyone’s enjoyment of the ride. Big touring cars could drive tourists from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon (feedback varied between positive and “horrific”), automobile parades and fairs were popular, and car races could not be beat. The Kissel Kar (a newer version of the car owned by S. W. Higley) won the big Los Angeles to Phoenix race in November 1910.