On Oct. 3, 1899, the first “horseless carriage” passed through Hillsdale and was an object of great curiosity. 

Automobiles were originally sent to local dealers (such as Pinkham and Wright, first located on Broad Street), broken down into components. It was up to the local dealer to assemble the vehicle. Locally, there were often races to see which group could assemble their auto the fastest.

Automobile dealerships, as well as repair shops such as Bentz Brothers, eventually replaced the livery stable. In the early 1900s acquiring a new automobile in Hillsdale was literally front page news, as well as were warnings to “altoists” that “accidents to pedestrians and people in carriages are very possible.” Bentz Brothers Garage was for many years an important N. Broad Street business.

Carleton Road, west of Broad Street, was once known as Gasoline Alley, due to the many “filling stations” lined along the street. Looking from Laird’s Mobil, northwest is Hi-Speed Station and Shell Oil. Also along this strip was Sunoco, Standard and Hy-Flash.

Carol A. Lackey