Tuesday, December 15, 2015

OST Hot Spots

Since I attended the Old Spanish Trail Centennial Celebration in Mobile, Alabama last week, I've been thinking about how the Good Roads Movement affected commercial architecture. Tracking down relevant structures requires mapping OST road beds and cross-checking Sanborn data sets, building plans and historic newspaper accounts.

The route -- highlighted above -- took westbound travelers through the Crescent City along Bayou Sauvage/Gentilly Road to North Broad  (via Paris) on to Canal, St. Charles, Broadway and ultimately to the Westwego-Walnut Street ferry.(1)

A St. Charles Street "Automobile Row" began to emerge in 1913. Various developers acquired historic residences along the artery between Girod and Julia Streets, and either adapted them or razed them for other use. Julius Koch was awarded a contract to demolish a boarding house and construct a 131' foot showroom (preliminary rendering above; photograph below). Three years later, Koch also designed a new building for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.(2)
Not all of the structures listed below are still standing, but most of them are. Some of them feature ornamental automobile symbolism such as wheels and wings.

If you are interested in learning more about the OST Centennial and/or wish to become involved in the planning process, click here.

St. Charles Avenue


M.G. Bernin Motor Trucks (1919)


Motor Car Service Company, Inc. (1920)


Abbott Motor Company {Two buildings -- Packard Showroom & Apartments/Showrooms} (1920)


Packard New Orleans Company (1929)


Abbott Automobile Company (1920)

St. Charles Street


Fairchild Motor Car Company (1917)


Woodring-Hamilton Car Company (1916)


Ellis Motor Company [formerly King Motor Company] (1920)


United Motor Car Company (1920)


Safety Tire Repair Company (1916)


Hotel Orleans (altered for this use in 1917-1918)


Demack Motor Car Company (1918)


Herbert E. Woodward Tires (1915)


Capital City Auto Company (1915)


Moon Agency (1914)


L.A.M. Motor Company (1918)


B.F. Goodrich Company New Orleans Branch (1914)


Abbott Auto Company "Used Car" Department (1919)


Stoutz Motor Car Company (1917)


Willys-Overland Company (1914)

Firestone Tire and Rubber Company (1916)

Freeport & Mexican Fuel Oil Company (1917)


Capital City Auto Company (1919)

And others that were very near to the OST:

Baronne Street


Charles E. Miller New Orleans Branch [Automobile Sales] (1910)


Shuler Auto Supply Company Inc. (1919)


M. Zilberman Show Room (1918)


Abbott Cycle Company (1906)
{They also sold automobile gloves}

Abbott Automobile Company (1908)


New Orleans Chevrolet Company (1926)


Brown Tube Company (1914)

Model Motor Truck Company, Inc. (1917)


Abbott Automobile Company, Ltd. (By 1916)


Fairchild Auto Company (1910)

Howard Avenue


Bernstein Glenny Motor Car Company (1917)


Lyons-Barton Motor Car Company (1915)
{Constructed using Kahn System}

Julia Street


B.P. Braud, Inc. Cord Tire Repairing (1920)

(1)An earlier route kept autoists on the east side of the Mississippi along the River Road.

(2)"Big Auto Tire Company to Make Crescent City Its Distributing Point." The Sunday States 21 May 1916.

Images above: Old Spanish Trail Association. Old Spanish Trail Road Map Southern Louisiana. October 1924. Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries. Digitally enhanced.

"New Orleans to Have 'Automobile Row' by September 15." The New Orleans Item 12 June 1913.

"The New St. Charles Auto Row." The New Orleans Item 5 October 1913.

Abbott Automobile Company, 2001 St. Charles Avenue. As it appears in The New Orleans Item 12 December 1920.

Fairchild Motor Company, 700 St. Charles Street. As it appears in The New Orleans Item 8 July 1917.


Thomas Rosell said...

The M. Zilberman Show Room is probably one of my favorite building in the city if not the entire country.

Would the Packard Dealership at 1820 St. Charles be associated with this list?

Keli Rylance said...

Yes! Thank you. I will add it!

Thomas Rosell said...

I had read somewhere that 1820 St. Charles was designed by Albert Kahn. Would that be Albet Kahn's only work in New Orleans?

Keli Rylance said...

Kahn did it in conjunction with a local engineer named Percy Kuhn. I'm not sure actually... it's the only set of plans we have in the SEAA that bear his name...

Thomas Rosell said...

Oh the poor 2001 St. Charles Abbott Automobile Company. Never would have recognized that building behind the EIFS balcony.

Keli Rylance said...

True. But it is amazing how many of them 1) there were and 2) that are still there. Must have been the automobile showroom mecca of the South in the teens and twenties.