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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, October 20, 1912, Image 65

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Motorists Meet With Bitter Dis
appointment at Conference
With Cabinet Officer
Interior Secretary Seems to
Think Stage Is Too Pic
turesque to Supplant
Many surprises developed at the con
ference, if such may be termed the
meeting between Secretary of the In
terior Walter L. Fisher and the repre
sentatives of the motorists of Califor
nia who gathered in the Yosemite last
Tuesday to discuss the question of ad
mitting the motor car into the na
tional park. The session proved more
like a programmed political conven
tion with the cabinet official wielding
the "big stick," and when most of the
motorists got over the shock of the
surprises that were sprung they awoke
to the dull realization that their fight
to gain an entrance into the reserve
wns a lost cause, as long as the pres
ent "official is in power or unless T'ncle
Sam is willing to make some large
appropriations for road improvements
that the interior department engineers
might suggest.
There was some intimation that by
next season the restrictions in the
reserve might be so altered as to per
mit the motor car to run to the brink
of the valley and allow the tourist to
crane his neck over the edge and
view the beauties of the floor of the
park at a distance. This appealed to
only a small number of the representa
tives present, the majority arguing
they might as well remain away from
the territory entirely as to be barred
right where a tour became interesting.
The surprises referred to in the
opening paragraph began on the day
prior to the session. I'pon the arrival
of the San Francisco delegation, which
went into the valley by way of the
Big Oak Flat route and appeared to
favor this road, if but one was to be se
lected, it was met by Percy J. Walker,
Of, the California State An
tomoblle assocfation. and informed
that when the southern delegation ar
rived later in the day a caucus
would be held at which it was most
probable that the Wawona route would
be indorsed and that no more than
admission as far as Glacier point would
be sought.
The next surprise came at the caucus
•when the southerners to a man voted
that admission into the valley be asked
and that the route be left entirely to
the engineers of the interior depart
ment. Harmony prevailed at the meet
ing and Walker was forced to get in
the band wagon and for the time for
get his Glacier point plan. The next
surprise came when the caucus com
mittee, consisting of State Senator J.
P.. Curtin, representing northern Cali
fornia: Harris Weinstock. representing
central California, and former Sena
tor Frank Flint for southern Califor
nia, waited on the cabinet officer to ask
him how much time he would allow
them at the conference on the follow
ing day. The pecretary informed them
that he would not listen to any argu
ments or plea.-* asking for the admission
of the motor ''ar into the valley, but
said he wanted constructive sugges
tions that he could refer to his en
(rlneeri and have them checked up.
He stated that he knew the auto had
come to stay, was the modern convey
ance and lie favored the admission of
the machines in the park If this could
be done with safety.
Right at the outset of the conference
Fisher made it clear that he was not
as strong a friend of the autoist as
he made it appear in previous inter
views. He said he did not care to listen
to any motor car dealers on why the
machine should be admitted into the
valley, and then began to throw out
sugegstions as to what might be ex
pected in the way of noises that would
echo through the valley from open
mufflers and plarm horns, the annoy
ance of dripping oil on the roads and
th# fi'ement of danger that might re
sult. He also infered that it would
mean the passing of the picturesque
srage coacb. which he believed would
be a most sorrowful incident.
Another surprise came when Senator
Frank Flint, representing the Automo
bile Club of Southern California, pre
sented his arguments, which showed
that southern motorists had carefully
prepared for the conference and took
a most fair stand regarding what roads
might be chosen. Flint argued that
the machines be allowed to reach the
floor of the valley, and urged that they
be allowed to have a choice of enter
ing the valley by _me route and to de
part by another, restricting the use of
the roads to the automobile to certain
hours of the day and thus avoid any
accidents with animal drawn vehicles.
He gave extracts from a report by
the club's engineer. O. K. Parker, in
which the latter pointed out that a new
road on a 7 per cc n t grade could be
built from the floor of the valley to
the brink for $35,000, while the pres
ent road from Chinquapin to Glacier
point could be put In shape for $1,000,
and '.n to Inspiration point for $5,000.
In the same report it was stated that
the Big Oak flat route could be placed
in excellent condition for motoring at
a cost of $25,000. This report was
taken by the secretary and will be re
ferred to his engineers.
Harris Weinstock, chosen at the
caucus to speak for central California,
grave up his time to Percy AValker and
tbe secr-»tary of the Cnamber of Com
merce of Merced. Here came the next
surprise. Although it was shown
clearly at the caucus the night before
that his plea to open the road only to
Glacier point was not favored. Walker
addressed the secretary and suggested
that the time was not ripe to allow the
motor car into the valley at present and
urged that the Glacier point plan be
adopted. The secretary appeared most
tolerant during Walker's arguments,
and when later it was backed by the
Merced county Chamber of Commerce
official he seemed quite pleased with
the Idea and Intimated that this might
come to pass.
J. B. Curtin. who talked in favor of
the Big Oak Flat route and urged that
the machines be given the freedom of
the valley, was frequently Interrupted
by the secretary for not sticking to
what lie called "constructive argu
ments." Curtin said that the toll com
pany owning the Big Oak Flat route
Northern California Motorists Cheer Brethren in South End of
State for Fair Play in Fight to Open Yosemite Gates to Automobiles
would expend several thousand dollars
if the word were given that the ma
chines could enter the valley, but this
did not impress the cabinet officer.
Fernando Nelson, the popular San
Francisco motorist, was given a rather
short shift when he informed Fisher
that the present Big Oak Flat route
was in good shape for auto traffic, for
he had made the trip twice in motor
cars and experienced no difficulty. C. S.
Hawkins suggested that the regulation
of motor traffic to certain hours of the
day would eliminate many dangers and
that the construction of light fences
on some of the sharp turns would serve
as warnings and incidentally give a
certain degree of confidence to the mo
torist. Here again the secretary
showed little tolerance and finally
called the meeting over with the re
mark that he would reserve his decision
in the matter until a later date.
The rather unfriendly spirit of Sec
retary Fisher, Walker's opposition to
the plan of having the cars enter the
valley and the fairness of the southern
Caiifornians in the matter of road
selection were the three most talked
of subjects among the northern motor
ists following the conference, and the
actions of the two former individuals
came in for some hot censure.
Most of the San Franciscans toured
as far as the reserve boundary in their
cars and there took the stages, for
which they arranged at Crocker's Si
erra resort, and rode into the valley.
Careful observations were made regard
! ing road conditions all along the stage
route, and at no place was it found
| impracticable or u\ erdangerous for
a motor car to run. From Tamarac
flat to the floor of the valley, where
the steepest pitches of the trip of
encountered, could be made with per
fect safety In a machine, and there are
any number of places where two cars
can pass.
That the automobile is a far safer
vehicle than the horse drawn stage
was demonstrated after the conference
when the San Franciscans left for
Crocker's resort on the way home.
Five stages departed from the valley
in the neighborhood of 3 o'clock in the
afternoon and darkness overtook them
before they reached the summit. For
many miles the drivers picked their
way in the darkness with much diffi
culty. When within two miles of the
entrance of the park, where the ma
chines were left on going into the val
ley, one of the stages went over the
bank and four men were injured. It
was then that every passenger aban
doned the coaches and walked the re
mainder of the distance to where the
automobiles were left. There 30 peo
ple piled into five automobiles and made
Croeker'd in perfect safety, after coy- j
ering some steep grades and sharp
turns on the way. Had autos been
used from the valley the delegates
would have been out of the timber be
fore darkness overtook them.
Two Buick cars and a Chalmers acted
as press cars in the run to the door of
the valley, the former cars being driven
by Claude Magee and Fred Gross of
the Howard Automobile company. Both
Magee and Gross made careful nota
tions of road condition ana nave the
following to say regarding them:
"We have been over the road four
times in the last six weelcs in Buick
cars. The route we followed lead
through Oakland over the foothill bou
levard to Hayward, through the Dublin
canyon to Livermore, Tracy, Bridge
town, Manteca, Oakdale, Knights Ferry,
Chinese Camp. Jacksonville. Preists,
Big Oak Flat, Groveland and Crockers.
to the boundary of Yosemite national
park. The roads are in excellent shape
as far as Manteca, with the exception
of a short stretch in the Dublin can
yon, where there is a boulevard in
course of construction. This boulevard
will be completed in the near future.
From Manteca to Knights Ferry the
roads are above the average. From
Knights Ferry to Jacksonville, a dis
tance of 17% miles, ls the worst stretch
of road on the trip. It is also a stretch
that can be put In excellent shape at
small expense, as it runs through a
rocky country and a portable rock
crusher could repair it In a short time.
"Leaving Jacksonville, a short run
up the Tuolumne river brings one to
the foot of Preists hill. This is the
hardest grade on the trip. It is two
miles long and runs from 16 to 30 per
cent. This grade will be eliminated
next season, as a new road is now
being built with a 5 per cent grade.
The new road starts at the river and
comes into the old one at Preists hotel,
which is at the top of Preists hill. Al
though this is the hardest grade on the
trip, it ls one that any standard auto
mobile should have no trouble with, as
our two little Buicks, carrying four
passengers and a lot of baggage, nego
tiated it without the slightest trouble,
and never at any time were we forced
to use all of our«power. From the top
of Preists hill to the boundary of the
Yosemite valley the roads are as good
or better than the average mountain
"The same condition prevails Inside
the park lines, and while there are a
few sharp turns and one or two narrow
places, the route as a whole is as safe
as the Lake Tahoe road and there are
not as many bad places as on the route
between San Francisco and Eureka."
From the rim of the valley to the
floor, a distance of six miles, there are
between 75 and 100 places where auto
mobiles may pass with safety and a
number of places where water may be
obtained. While in conversation with
the president of the Big Oak Flat Toll
Road company, he stated that his com
pany was prepared to build a new road
which will eliminate six of the worst
turns just as soon as the valley is
opened to machines. Charles, Heffer
man, who controls the stage concession
for this road at the present time, states
that he will put on a line of auto
stages just as soon as the park is
opened to machines. This will add a
great deal to the public safety and
comfort, as it is an acknowledged fact
that the auto is much safer and much
easier handled than the horse drawn
McGee and Gross both state that
there is no reason in the world why
the average owner who has mastered
his car should not drive directly to the
floor of the valley without any more
danger than he would be exposed to on
a Sunday trip to Pescadero and back
via Crystal Springs lake, Half Moon Bay
and La Honda In proof of their state
ment, they point to the running time
on the four trips recently made, in
which the two smallest Buick touring
cars were used. The running time on
each of these trips was between seven
and a half and eight and a half hours,
and when the distance, which is about
190 miles, is taken Into consideration,
it is easily seen that the roads are far
from impassable. They also point to
their Goodyear non rim cut tires, which
hardly show a scratch and which did
not give them a minute's trouble on
either trip.
They also give the following advice
on lubrication, which is, to use heavier
oil in this class of work than is used
ij» ordinary touring. They aljso advise
the use of anxlilryy air for this class
of work, as it eliminates the necessity
of adjusting the carburetor on account
of the high altitude.
Not alone have the Pacific coast and
San Francisco experienced a large num
ber of sales for the Knox-Martin trac
tor and two to seven ton trucks, but
the east also reports sales ranging far
in excess of those of previous years.
In Massachusetts these conditions are
especially noticeable. The two and
seven ton trucks have been in great
demand, besides Martin tractors, which
make the company's business for the
last month greater than that of the
preceding months. Most of the tractor
orders come from firms in the contract
ing road building business. Not only
is the increase greater than last month,
but also it is considerably larger than
! for the corresponding period last year.
Scenes in Yosemite valley showing wide roads on which automobiles are barred and Buick press cars in recent run to
gates of National park-
Dealers' Secretary Gives Some
Pointed Statements on the
Yosemite Session
R. K. Roberts, manager of the How
ard Automobile company and secretary
of the Motor Car Dealers' association
of San Francisco, who attended the
conference with Secretary of the Inte
rior Fisher in the Yosemite valley as
representative of the dealers' organiza
tion, has the following to say regard
ing the session:
"The question of permitting the en
trance Into the Yosemite valley of au
tomobiles is of great importance, not
only to the people of the state of Cali
fornia, but its interest ls nation wide;
indeed, the whole world would be ben
"It Is this well recognized fact that
at first glance would cause It t.c ap
pear that no opposition should be en
countered, and that a concession which
would permit the world to see this bit
of paradise by .making it easier of ac
cess would be voluntary on the part
of the department of the interior, in
stead of its present apparent attitude.
"Let us glance at some of the oc
currences immediately preceding and
during this recent conference and draw
what conclusions may seem logical and
"Upon our arrival at the Sentinel ho
tel In the valley on Monday morning
we were greatly surprised and. I may
say, disappointed to find that we had
been preceded by many representatives
of as many different Interests seeking
to gain advantage by the adoption of
thig or that route, by which it was
proposed that automobiles be permit
ted to enter the valley.
"It at once became apparent that this
condition was untenable and that, un
less harmony could, be produced, our
efforts were foredoomed to defeat, for
how natural It would have been for a
secretary already biased by the con
sistently hostile attitude of the colonel
in command toward the project to have
said: 'Gentlemen, how am I to reach
a decision in this matter when you can
not agree among yourselves as to the
most practical and safest route by
which automobiles may be admitted.
It will be necessary for you to present
a united front and to eliminate dissen
sion among yourselves, and until such
time as this has been accomplished I
shall give this question no further con
'"With these ideas In mind the San
Francisco delegation went to work
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He who V knows the price
of everything—and the value
of nothing—judges the Ford
.by its low cost alone. But
he who knows real values
knows that only the gigantic
production of the Ford has
made possible present prices.
Runabout - - - - $525
Touring Car * - - - 600
Delivery Wagon - - 625
Town Car - - - - 800
These new prices, f. o. b. Detroit, with
all equipment. An early order will mean
an early delivery. Get particulars from
Ford ■"- Motor Company, 100 Van ■* NessV
Avenue, ; San Francisco, or direct from
Detroit factory.
with a will, and upon the arrlval-of
the delegation from Eos Angeles,
headed by former United States Sena
tor Flint, we lost no time in expressing
our views. In fact the scene quickly
assumed the aspect of a political con
vention that would have recalled
thrilling" memories to the members of
tho-late Chicago or Baltimore conven
"It was decided that a caucus should
be held that evening and a definite and
harmonious plan of action should be
arranged. The caucus was held and the
decision was unanimously reached that
all special and private interests should
be entirely eliminated from the ques
tion in Its presentation to the secre
tary, as also was the deolsion with ref
erence to the entrance by which the
motor car should be admitted to the
A committee consisting of Senators
Flint, Curtin and Colonel Welnstock
was named through which the claims
of the motoring public were to be sub
mitted. The caucus proved a decidedly
harmonious affair and adjourned with
happy visions of success. Subsequent
events, however, proved that we had
reckoned without our host, for scarcely
had the meeting adjourned and we had
repaired to the Sentinel hotel than we
found all our plans upset by the an
nouncement of Secretary Fisher to the
effect that he would listen to no argu
ment affecting the question of the ad
vantages and desirability of admitting
motor cars into Yosemite valley, as
these facts were patent and admitted,
and that he favored so doing as soon
as it could be shown to him that it
could be accomplished with the proper
degree of safety. The secretary an
nounced that he would listen ojily to
constructive argument as to the best
road that could most economically be
reconstructed and made a safe en
trance for motor cars Into the valley.
In these brief words were all our plans
shattered and the questions we had la
bored so hard to avoid became auto
matically the main and only issues in
the case. Hurried consultations came
fast and furious, and to the credit of
the Eos Angeles delegation it must be
said that they displayed an eminent' '
fair spirit throughout the entire de
"Tuesday morning the official hear
ing came. Secretary Fisher proved
himself a keen and shrewd attorney,
with a disposition to direct a cross ex
amination to disprove the impractical
side of every theory advanced and to
shoulder upon congress the responsi
bility of his probable refusal to grant
the desired concession, until such time
as sufficient appropriations might be
made by that body for the purpose of
proper road improvements. He dis
played consistent sarcasm throughout
the conference, evidently prompted by
a slight touch of egotism, though we
should perhaps be charitable enough to
attribute this action to an effort at
humor. •
"Senator Flint opened the argument
and confined his remarks strictly to the
limitations as previously outlined by
the secretary. Senator Flint's argu
ment was purely unbiased and pre
sented engineering facts relative to all
the different roads entering the valley.
His was a strong plea In favor of motor
cars being permitted to enter the floor
of the valley by way of the Wawona
road from the south and leave by the
Big Oak flat road to the north, and vice
versa. This, in fact, was the position
of the entire body assembled, as had
been decided on previously, with the ex
ception of one official of an automobile
organization who hails from San Fran
cisco, and the representative of the Ma
dera Chamber of Commerce, who, it is
said, was fostering personal interests.
These gentlemen advocated the use of
the Wawona road, and that only to Gla
cier point at the rim of the valley, and
were willing to postpone indefinitely
the entrance to the floor of the valley
by any route on the ground that there
was no road at present by which motor
cars may safely do so. It is not difficult
to understand this position being taken
by the gentleman from Madera, but the
writer must confess his inability to see
how a representative from San Fran
cisco can explain this action in assum
ing an attitude so obviously unfair to
» his own city that even the Los Angeles
[.contingent were too just to advocate.
"The adoption only of the road to the
rim of the valley at Glacier point by
way of Wawona as proposed means
that Yosemite valley will he removed
something like 100 miles further from
San Francisco and the floor of the valley
can only be reached from that point by
a horse trail 11 miles in length or a
steep foot trail five miles in length.
Thus It will be seen why the rest of our
delegation was laboring po industri
ously to prevent this catastrophe.
"Here the case rests with the honor
able secretary of the interior, and it is
a safe prophecy that he will not grant
more than his information shows is
wanted by the automobile organization
of the northern part of the state.
"Tt is my confident belief that had the
influence of this powerful organization,
through its representative, not been
j antagonistic to the position of the rest
of the conferees that different results
I would have been attained."
The Standard Motor Car company,
distributers of the Baker electrics,
Stoddard Dayton* and Federal trucks
sent a fleet of 1913 Stoddards to the fair
now in progress at Ukiah—one "30," a
"40," a "50" and the Silent Knight con
stituted the parade which left the city
last week, driving to Santa Rosa, thence
to Ukiah.
ilffrn . stAgGaßd TREAD
cc * nner Tubes
X QWitTMWjd& ll M - E - MURRAY, >Isrr.
/AxsLl f- 295 Go -*- e -- Aye., Sin I ranpl-co.
pjKfli&ilL Imperial Garage and Supply Co.
tfsOsTS '■ "*'-f !*- Is- 1440-48 Webstar St, Oakland.
ra-sfi-g iH 268 80. First St., Ban .Toaa,
ffWßf >' ! k" *f4JM 1213 J St " Sf-cramento.
osi_r •'£ V !>*» i_J/_l Branches at Los Angeles, Portland, S-attla.
'/ __t_f < ** Aj/aM Factory at Youn_sto*_, 0.
Specify Republic Equipment on Your 1913 Car
Winton Man Reports Roads
Good and Business Pros-
pects Bright
T. A. Skinner, sales manaarer of the
local Winton branch, has just returned
from a business trip through th©
northern counties. He reports hai'-nsc
made a number of sales on his trip
and one immediate delivery to J. A.
Shaw, a prominent rancher and stock
owner of Ferndale. in the heart of one
of California's most prosperous dairy
Skinner stated that the roads In and
around Eureka are at the present time
In about as good condition as at any
other season of the year, and that the
road from Eureka to Ferndale Is In
fine shape, although at Borne points
in this section of the country the
steep grades and sharp turn 3 en
countered on the mountain roads ne
cessitates slow traveling.
Indications for all lines of business,
especially the automobile industry, for
the season of 1913 point to an exceed
ingly prosperous year.
While in Eureka, Skinner made ar
rangements with F. W. Johnson,
prominent automobile man of that
city, to represent the Winton Moty>*"*w
Car company in Humboldt countif
Johnson is an owner of a Winton car
and is enthusiastic over the manner
in which it has performed.
S, Q. Chapman, distributer for north
ern California for the Hupmoblle car,
announces that the 191.*? model ".",."
Hupmoblle will be in San Franci„co
within the next day or two. This will
be welcome news to the host of Hup
moblle owners and the general motor
ing public, who are anxious to see this
new model, 'which has won such high
praise from eastern motor experts. The
new 1913 model "32" Hupmoblle will
embrace all the best features of former
Hupmobiles and will have some new
ones that will appeal strongly to mo
Chapman. In speaking of the new
models, says: "The Hupmoblle factory ,
has made every effort this season to
put out a car that will appeal to every
man who wants a machine that will
he reliable under all conditions.
"The new car has a long stroke
motor, 3',i by 5-_ inches. Inclosed
valves, three bearing crank shaft*-,
unit power plant, multiple disc clutch,
three speed forward and Bosch mag
neto. The cars are finished in tasty
colors and the lines' are graceful."
Those who have seen the new cars ;
are enthusiastic over the speed and |
power and they say that it gets over
hills with ease and without apparent
The Hupmoblle factory, with Its new
additions, expects to be able to keep
up with the extraordinary demand for
cars, which is' pouring in from all over
the country.
According to Rene J. Marx, manager
of the Simplex-Mercer Pacific coast
agency, a race between a Mercer race
about and a Curtiss aeroplane was one
of the principal daily attractions at
the interstate fair, recently held «£
Trenton, N. J. This novel stunt prov-*»
very interesting to the spectators artd
it demonstrated the comparative merits
of automobiles and aeroplanes for rac
ing purposes.
The contest consisted of a flvsj- mile
race, the car circling the half mile
track and the biplano flying directly
above, about 2*lo feet in the air. From
the start .the Mercer gained on the air
machine and at the finish of the race.
it was about a rp-arter of a mile in the
lead. Had the track been a mile cir
cuit the affair would have been morn
exciting, as neither car nor aeroplane
would have been hampered by the short
The Mercer driver was Charles F. |
Keene of th» Mercer Automobile com
pany, while the Curtiss machine was In
the hands of Aviator C. F. Walsh.
Chalmers ears -were again put in
the champion class on the Sioux City
speedway, October 4 and 5. H. A. W_t
more with a Chalmers "Thirty-six"
stock car won seven firsts and ono
sorond out of "ight races. In the .0
mile free for all event, the Chalmers I
finished -five miles ahead of its near
est competitor.
Stoddard for Uocal Realty Man —H B.
Allen, a larpe real estate dealer of this
city, has just purchased a 1913 Stod
dard-Dayton "4*.** touring car.

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