Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 104-105 Creator
Smith, Kay, 1925- Institution
Bloomfield Township Public Library Subject
Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History Subject
Street-railroads -- Michigan -- Birmingham -- History Subject
Automobiles -- Michigan -- Birmingham -- History Item Number
part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith Type
text, image Format
THE AUTOMOBILE AND THE INTERURBAN COME
Within four years of each other, the two modes of trans-
portation which would permanently change life in
Bloomfield arrived on Woodward Avenue.
On June 18, 1896, there was much excitement and a
holiday atmosphere as horse-drawn carriages filled the
street. Everyone was streaming down to Royal Oak to ride
back in the first Interurban electric car. George Hendrie,
its promoter, was the motorman and the man of the day.
It was he who had made the decision to build the line's
power plant in Birmingham instead of Royal Oak. He didn't
disappoint his riders as the car clipped along at 40 miles
an hour and came triumphantly into town, linking city and
suburbs and signaling a whole new era.
Four years later, travelers waiting for the Interurban at
Opdyke and Woodward gasped to see a strange new vehicle,
an automobile, drive into town. It was a little French 1899
DeDion-Bouton motorette, the prize possession of
W. J. Moore, of Caro.
Moore had read of the new European fad of driving
horseless carriages and in 1899 dispatched $1,500 to
France for one. Four months later it arrived. The instruc-
tions were in French, and a wild time ensued while Moore
tried to start the car, and, having achieved that, couldn't
get it stopped.
It was early the following summer, 1900, when Mr. and
Mrs. Moore decided to go "Touring" --the first use of the
word in this country--and set off for Detroit. They came to
Bloomfield via Opdyke Road and from there proceeded
down Woodward Avenue beside the tracks of the Inter-
urban. At Birmingham they stopped at the tollgate where
the amazed tollgate keeper, a woman, was unable to find
any rate in the book for a carriage without horses. She
raised the gate and the first automobile to enter Bloomfield
exited free of charge.