Redwood Falls Gazette
  • Mr. Lamberton’s splendid new garage

  • In 1911, 100 passengers went on a road trip in 23 newfangled devices called automobiles; their three-day trip is still remembered 113 years later....
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  • The time frame for this story is 1915. From about 1900-15 many cars were being manufactured and purchased by many folks including those who lived in Redwood Falls. Cadillacs, Fords, Nashs and Studebakers were rolling through the streets of town and through the streets of other towns. The roads in town and between towns were not very good. They were all dirt, and when it rained, they were muddy roads. Road maps were also becoming popular. These cars were at first a real novelty but soon people all over the country realized their importance. Automo-biles, it seemed, became very popular overnight, and everyone wanted one. Everyone it seemed wanted to become a car dealer, too, while others realized the importance of repair shops and garages for repairing these automobiles. Gas stations soon started popping up on every corner in town. In Redwood Falls the first garage constructed for repairing automobiles was built by Lobdell and Francois in 1911. The Falls Theatre was later built on the site of Lobdell’s garage. In Fall 1911 there was a Glidden Automobile Tour that started in Redwood Falls. “On Monday morning 25 years ago [1911] this week, 100 passengers left this little community in 23 cars, among them a Cadillac, Buick, Ford, Chalmers, Brush, Kloped, E. M. F. (Every Morning Fix, according to the funsters of the period), Flanders and Imperial. “They were led by the Pathfinder machine piloted by Dr. E. A. Lyman and R. A. Cooper, who were allowed a maximum speed of 30 miles an hour but were cautioned to maintain a uniform mile-age of between 15 and 20 miles in hours during the trip. “The trip took three days, being routed through Morton, Olivia, Cold Spring, St. Cloud, back south to Minneapolis and from there to Glencoe and by something approximating the present route from there to Redwood Falls. “Julian and Ingolf Stens-vad, F. R. Lobdell, L. P. Larson, H. F. Swalm, Dutch Francois, F. H. Shoemaker, W. G. Weldon, R. A. Cooper, F. G. Hubbard, W. R. Rob-erts, O. W. Grapp, Gus Schildknecht, Rud Stens-vad, E. A. Lyman, Joe Gerby, Fred Murset, Dr. W. A. Brand, A. C. Dolliff and Miss Zelma Thune the “only lady driver” were immortalized by the artist accompanying the travelers. Their caricatures appeared in Twin Cities papers and in the Redwood Gazette.” By 1915 numerous cars had been purchased, and their owners were clamoring for some place to store them. Charles E. Lamberton came up with the solution. Back in 1915, homes did not have carports or garages attached or unattached to them. Only a few folks had a barn or a shed large enough to store their auto. Mr. Lam-berton opened a garage. In an article published in the Redwood Gazette, August, 1915 it states “last Monday a deal was closed whereby Chas. E. Lamber-ton became owner of a lot 60 x 120 feet upon which the old livery barn south of the Kahler House now stands, and Geo. Arnold became owner of the lot on the corner with a 60 foot frontage on Washington Street, and including half of the lot formerly owned by Lamberton on Fourth Street.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Both men will construct new buildings of cement blocks, one story in height. “Mr. Lamberton will have concrete floor space approximately 60 feet square and a small basement to provide for heating plant. This building will be located upon the lot where the old livery barn now stands and will be used for a bus barn and office. “Mr. Arnold has begun the work of filling in the lot and constructing the foundation and expects to have the building completed with three weeks. The floor space will be either 60 x 40 feet or 60 x 60 feet. As soon as this building is completed the old barn will be destroyed and the work of construction of Mr. Lam-berton’s building started. Both buildings will front on Washington.” The Kahler Hotel and the Ramsey Hotel on the southwest corner of Washington and Third Streets were one in the same building. In other words Mr. Arnold’s building and Lamberton’s new building were located west across Washington Street from the Redwood Falls Hospital. By the way, the hospital was also built during the year 1915 and was opened for business that fall in October. Does anyone know if Mr. Arnold’s building was later occupied by the Anderson’s John Deere business? What follows is a brief family tree on the Lamberton family of Redwood Falls. Charles E. Lamberton was born April 20, 1866 in St. Peter, Nicollet County, the son of Alfred John Lamberton and Helen M. Pratt. Charles E. Lamberton married Lillian McQuat April 19, 1888 at St. Peter. By 1895, Charles E. Lamberton had moved his family to Redwood Falls. He and his wife became the parents of; Helen, Agnes, John K., Wilbur H., and Walter D. Charles Edwin Lamberton died June 21, 1917 in Red-wood Falls. Wilbur Harkin Lamberton was born July 21, 1900 in Redwood Falls. He married Helen Elvig and had two children: Margaret Ruth Lam-berton (’53) and Charles “Chuck” Lamberton (’56), both graduates of RFHS. Wilbur Harkin Lamberton died Nov. 20, 1967 in Redwood Falls. In 1931, Hillger brothers bought the Lamberton business and building, and in 1937 they tore down the old Lamberton building and erected a new building on that site. Today, Hillger’s Garage is gone, too. Do you remember Hillger’s Garage on Washington Street? Oscar, Herbert and Clarence Hillger operated a Dodge and Plymouth Sales and Service Garage. All three were master mechanics and did general car and truck repairing and motor reboring. The next time you hit town, try and locate the site of Hillger’s old garage stand.
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