Thursday, September 2, 2021

113-Year-Old Brookline Electric Car Wins Award

Brookline's history with electric cars goes back to --- well, pretty much back to the beginnings of electric vehicles in the United States. The first non-experimental electric car made in the U.S. was built in Brookline in 1891, with a body by local carriage maker Michael Quinlan and an engine by the Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company on Station Street.


Twenty years later, in December 1911, when the Boston Globe listed all of the electric automobile charging stations in Massachusetts, Brookline had eight of them, more than any community except Boston. By that time, Larz and Isabel Anderson had two electrics among their growing collection of automobiles: a 1905 British-made Electromobile; and a 1908 Bailey Electric Phaeton Victoria made by the S.R. Bailey Company in Amesbury, Massachusetts. 


1905 Electromobile and 1908 Bailey. Photos courtesy of Larz Anderson Automobile Museum

Both cars are still in Brookline, part of the collection kept in the former Anderson Carriage House and maintained by the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Last month, the Bailey was honored at a California auto show -- the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance --  as the "Most Well-Preserved Pre-War Vehicle" at the show.

The 1908 Bailey at Palm Springs, left, and Larz Anderson Auto Museum Executive Director Sheldon Steele with the auto and its award at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, August 15, 2021.

The Bailey was Isabel Anderson's favorite car, according to the Museum. It was advertised as being self-driven, fitting for Anderson who was the first woman to get a driver's license in Massachusetts. It did have a place in the back for a footman to accompany her on drives.

The Larz Anderson Auto Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and SUnday form 9 am to 3 pm.

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