This Month in Edmonds History: First automobile arrives in Edmonds

Circa 1911 automobile, owned by Allen Yost.  Front seat: Nita Bacon Yost, George Yost; Standing: Eben Bartlett; Middle seat: Oscar Bradley, Effie Bacon; Back seat: Alice Bacon, Victor Hanson
Circa 1911 automobile, owned by Allen Yost. Front seat: Nita Bacon Yost, George Yost; Standing: Eben Bartlett; Middle seat: Oscar Bradley, Effie Bacon; Back seat: Alice Bacon, Victor Hanson

My Edmonds News is proud to present a monthly look at Edmonds history, straight from the archives of the Edmonds Historical Museum. For the month of June, we’ll revisit 1911.

Transportation in Edmonds came in phases, as it did across much of the country.  Preceded by the steamboat, the railroad, and buses, the automobile finally made its debut here in June 1911*.

Allen M. Yost was the first Edmonds resident to own an automobile that year, an Everett-30 model.  According to the Yost family, the Everett-30 was actually a trial machine, and Allen had actually ordered a larger and more powerful model with a self-starting engine.  A June 23, 1911 Edmonds Tribune-Review article detailed the automobile’s arrival:

“A.M. Yost is now the proud possessor of the only automobile in town.  It is an Everett-30 and is a splendid machine.  George Yost is the chief chauffer of the Yost garage and has so far graduated that he can lie on his back and fumble with the internal organs of the engine with a monkey wrench in as dignified and professional manner as any of the high prices and imported mechanics.”

George Yost, chauffer and mechanic, led the family on many trips over the area’s muddy and often hazardous roads. They even ventured on several out-of-town tours through parts of Washington and Oregon.

Another local, Henry Erben, Jr., “caught the fever” after riding along on several of these drives, and bought his own automobile the very next month. It was reported that “…the first time he ventured downtown in the machine he had occasion to stop in front of Attorney White’s office and that he was extremely surprised when the affair did not stop when he hollered ‘Whoa’ and did not recover sufficiently to put on the brake until he had gone some little distance beyond.”

The Yost family opened an automobile garage on the corner of Fifth and Dayton (which later became Old Milltown) in March 1914, and their endeavors continued to shape the development and growth of Edmonds over the years.

*One Yost family record indicates the first automobile arrived in June 1910 instead of 1911.

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