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SEYMOUR'S EARLY AUTOMOBILESSeymour’s Early Automobiles

As compiled by Joseph C. Lotter

This picture was taken in 1903 at the Lotter Machine Shop: The first garage in Seymour that serviced automobiles. Anton Lotter, Jr. is bending over the car in the middle of the picture. His 1902 Monarch is in the far left of the photo. A. J. Lotter is seated in a 1903 Buckboard to the right of the picture.

Because of the poor road conditions automobile travel around Seymour during the early 1900s was limited. An adequate road to Green Bay was constructed in 1916 and a suitable road to Appleton didn’t exist until the early 1920s. Main Street in Seymour was of corduroy construction (sand-covered logs were placed perpendicular to the direction of the road) and was impassable in the winter until about 1914.

All cars were stored under some type of cover from October until May. They were prepared for the winter by the Lotter Brothers, then put on blocks and stored in various small garages around the city. Lotter’s stored several cars in the upper level of their shop on West Wisconsin Street (Presently Don’s parking lot). The vehicles were towed up the stairway and conditioned for winter. In the spring they were lowered back down.
Most tires were 32” x 4” and came with clinchers, boots, patches, and leather thongs for repairs. The first headlamps appeared about 1910 and were carbide brass containers that required cleaning after every use. The earliest cars didn’t have tops so travel was restricted to the fairest of days.
Some of the earliest motor cars owned and driven in the Seymour area as recorded by Joseph C. Lotter.

Frank Balheim, a rural mail carrier, owned a 1902 Holsman 2 cylinder with high carriage wheels. The vehicle is on display in the Neville museum in Green Bay.

Anton Lotter, Jr., of Lotter Brothers, owned a 1903 one cylinder Monarch and later drove a 1910 4-cylinder Cadillac with brass trim and carbide lamps.

A. J. Lotter owned a 1903 Buckboard. John Kissinger came from Milwaukee with a new 1916 Kissel. Henry Davis, a local jeweler, looked sporty in a Hubmobile roadster. It was very tiny with a shiny black finish. Joseph Huettl, of Huettl Brothers, has the first truck that was actually a converted car. Later Robert Kuehne purchased a large F. W. D. truck as did Huettl. Father Zerback purchased a new Buick each year for his Seymour pastorate.

Joseph Huettl sold Wadhams Gas. It was stored in 55 gallon drums in a shed behind Uttormarks Hardware and Lotter’s shop. It was all shipped in by rail and unloaded on spur track behind Kuehne’s stone cabbage storage building on Morrow Street.

The first car with a cloth top and windshield was owned by Waite and Beck an early Seymour business. It was a 490 Overland with rear doors with a wide opening a step making it easy for women to enter and leave the car. Agents for various concerns hired cars in summer to visit Isaar, North Seymour, and Brasses Corner to sell merchandise to the general stores.

The automobile craze didn’t hit Seymour until roAds were improved in the 1920s and 30s and motor power vehicles became more practicable and affordable.

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