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“Gasoline” Jack Houk’s Chico to Willows California Mystery Stage Car

Updated: Earlier this year we featured a photo of “Gasoline” Jack behind the wheel of a 1916 or ’17 Studebaker six-passenger stage filled with nine riders and a rabbit. Today’s feature image contains the Stage driver and six passengers with a baby in an earlier car, information with the picture states that his last name is Houk. The automobile is a large circa 1908 six-passenger touring car by an unknown maker.

A second photograph of this was automobile was taken in 1914 with California license plates issued that year. At that time, the rear section of the body had been removed and replaced with a pair of upholstered wagon seats and a surrey top fitted with side curtains for use during inclement weather in northeastern California. At the time the Stage was operated on a shorter run from Chico to Hamilton.

Identify the automaker that produced this car if possible and share with us what you find of interest in this photo courtesy of the California State University at Chico Collections.

Update: This car has been identified by a reader named Paul as a: “Circa 1909 Royal Tourist made in Cleveland, Ohio.” Two different types of fenders were used on these automobiles in the period. Earlier we found a photo 0f a 1908 Series G 45 h.p. seven passenger touring with flat fenders as on the feature car. View posts here on The Old Motor covering the Royal Tourist here.

11 responses to ““Gasoline” Jack Houk’s Chico to Willows California Mystery Stage Car

  1. The thing that struck me was the nineteenth-century font used on the sign on the door. It could have appeared on a horse-drawn stage.

    Kind of a nice bridge between the eras.

  2. Gasoline Jack appears to be wearing button shoes. Any idea when the went out of style? Another great series of pictures, you have done it again.

    • I believe that the cost of a round trip was actually $6. The Sacramento Union newspaper of June 14, 1910 states that the fare from Chico to Hamilton was $1; to Orland $2, and to Willows was $3. This price continued at least until August of 1911.

      The schedule shown indicates that it left Chico at 7:00 a.m. and was to arrive in Willows at 11:30 a.m. The return trip left Willows at 3:00 p.m and arrived back in Chico at 7:00 p.m. There was no Sunday service between Chico and Willows. The auto stage began around May 11, 1910 based on another article in the Sacramento Union.

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