Pioneer Tells of Speeding In Early Day Roadster Here in 1903
"That ride scared me worse than any I've taken since," said E. A. Shelton, El Paso pioneer. In referring to his trip in El Paso's first automobile.
The auto was a Maxwell two-passenger with no top. It belonged to Frank Bell, brother of Mrs. A. P Coles.
Mr. Bell was something of a man about town. It was said that he had the only valet in El Paso.
Frank used to visit my house occasionally and soon after he got his car, came by one Sunday afternoon, and asked me to ride with him," recalled Mr. Shelton. "We went out Wyoming, which was not paved, and I thought I would hardly get back alive, but finally did, and had the satisfaction of riding In the first car brought to town." The year was about 1903.
Mr. Shelton arrived in El Paso Feb. 6, 1886, when El Paso had a population of about 5500.
Fallacies About Trees
"The only kind of trees grown here at the time, with the exception of fruit trees, were cottonwood and Umbrella China, and It was said no other kind would grow. That proved to be fallacious. It was the general impression that roses could not be grown north of the tracks, this also proved to be wrong."
Mr. Shelton started a retail shoe store, then became connected with the old El Paso Gas, Electric Light, and Power Co. Ho was also postmaster.
"The principal, residence streets were East San Antonio, Magoffin and Mesa Ave.," said Mr. Shelton. “Mesa Ave. was then called Utah from the river to the city limits on the north; but as nearly all the bawdy houses were located on this street south of Overland, the reputation of Utah St. was so bad the residents on the north side got the City Council to change the name from San Antonio north to Mesa Ave. Some years later, a few business houses were opened on Utah St., and thinking that their business was injured by the bad reputation of the street, had the name changed Broadway. In recent years it was changed to South Mesa.
School Board Member
"The Parker House was located where Hotel Cortez now stands, but was soon afterwards remodeled and called Hotel Vendome. The Steely House was on the lots now occupied by the Postoffice, and the Windsdor Hotel on El Paso St. south of Overland."
Mr. Shelton was a. member of the School Board when the Mesa School, now Bailey, was built. "The board was strongly criticized for building it way out in the cactus and sand five or six blocks from any other building," he said.
"While the churches were only five, the saloons must have been five times as many. Most of them had gambling connected with them and nearly all kept open all night."