• The Seattle Times was located at 1402 2nd ave.
    The paper moved into a new building in 1916. The building pictured here has long since been demolished.
  • Very battered and hard to read sign on the running board that says: Kelly Springfield Tires
  • Painted on the side of the car (but covered by misc. items) it reads: Chicago to Seattle
  • Painted on the side of the car (but covered by misc. items) it reads: Chicago to Seattle

E.J. Davis and E. Edward Reed arrive in Seattle from Chicago on Monday, October 7, 1912

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My favorite image from my collection. I purchased this online with absolutely no information to go on except for what the image provided. It took almost 2 years of searching to finally come up with the story behind this fantastic photograph.

Taken by the firm of Webster & Stevens in Seattle, Washington on Monday October 7, 1912. Webster and Stevens are well known photographers of historic Seattle images. They were the official photographers for the Seattle Times from 1903 to 1946(?).

The car is a Davis Special. Probably from the Davis Motor Car Co. in Richmond, Indiana.

Original newspaper story can be found here:


The Seattle Sunday Times article from October 13, 1912 reads:

Hoosiers Drive Machine From Chicago to Seattle

With the odometer showing a distance of 2,616.9 miles covered, a Davis Special automobile driven by E.J. Davis who was accompanied by E. Edward Reed, both of Indiana, arrived in Seattle last Monday morning from Chicago. Their car was battered and mud-stained from the battle with rough roads and the elements, but the Hoosiers' enthusiasm was not daunted in the least.
They left the Windy City on September 10 and traveled to Seattle by way of Omaha, Cheyenne, Laramie, Granger, Pocatello, Twin Falls, Bliss, Boise, Weiser, Baker City, Walla Walla, North Yakima, Ellensburg and the Snoqualmie Pass, covering the long journey in twenty-seven days. About five days time was lost due to rainstorms in Iowa and washouts in Wyoming.
Although roads of all descriptions were traversed on the cross-country jaunt, no serious difficulty was encountered until the Indiana boys, who have come to Seattle to enter the automobile business, began the trip through Snoqualmie Pass, in the Cascade mountains. the narrow precipitous trail, with its sharp curves, taxed the power of the car's motor and also tested the endurance power of the driver and occupants. In bumping over the corduroyed section of the pass route, one of the front springs snapped, the only accident that marred the run.
The car attracted considerable attention as it was driven up Second Avenue to The Times building, the finishing point of the Chicago to Seattle journey. mud bespattered, the canvas fenders torn to shreds and with a stack of chewed-up tires on the rear, the machine bore every appearance of having encountered rough going. Shovels, boards, ropes and chains also decorated the car, the extra equipment being necessary to extricate the vehicle from mud on several occasions.
The car was designed by young Davis. While it has a Continental motor, which develops thirty-three horsepower, Davis is using a clutch and steering mechanism of his own make. It covered more than 2,000 miles before it was driven to Chicago, from which city the trip to Seattle was begun.
At the wheel of the accompanying picture, is Mr. Davis. At his side is Mr. Reed, while the third occupant is Mr. M. L. Poynter, of Seattle, who joined the tourists at Walla Walla to bring them over the remainder of the distance to Seattle. Mr. Davis is a brother of O. H. and Merl Davis, of this city.
Mr. Davis and Mr. Reed are automobile mechanics and have come here to follow their trade.

Kurt Modler, DarkVictory19, and 41 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. BOB@ wootton ages ago | reply

    Smart picture – maybe they had taken part in an event sponsored by the newspaper.

  2. Tina !!! ages ago | reply

    Una reliquia! I love it!

  3. purring increase [deleted] ages ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Favorite Photos/Videos--No Nudes, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  4. Jonathan Ryan - Tipperaryphotos.com ages ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Old Photographs given new life., and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  5. crackdog ages ago | reply

    If you compare it to pictures of the Shawmut that ran in the 1909 AYP race it has some differences. It also has several similarities.


    It’s MADDENING how close the AYP race would fit this picture yet it doesn’t! AAARGH!

  6. mwhybark ages ago | reply

    Allen, I agree, it's not the same car. Sure looks like the kind of car, though.

  7. crackdog 119 months ago | reply

    Due to the popularity of this photo I have replaced it with a larger version for people to download or study as they so desire.

  8. flintstones80 117 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Brick Streets, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  9. Roberto41144 109 months ago | reply

    every man & boy has a tie & hat on.....

  10. crackdog 101 months ago | reply

    I finally started revving up my efforts at solving the mystery of this photograph. A trip to Seattle's main library branch turned up nothing but I was given some ideas of where else to search. I subscribed to a genealogy database that gives me access to an extensive archive of newspapers from all over the country dating back to the 17th century. I cross referenced everything I could think of and have still come up short.
    The search continues!

  11. crackdog 101 months ago | reply

    MYSTERY SOLVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    No sooner had I posted the above comment when I found the answer!
    See the new caption on the picture above.

  12. Jana R 101 months ago | reply

    WOOOOHOOOOO!!!! This photo has come to mind every now and then since you shared it on VintageSeattle. I'm glad your detective work paid off!

  13. whatsthatpicture 97 months ago | reply

    Such a great image, and story.

  14. mwhitnah@pacbell.net 17 months ago | reply

    This morning, I just happened to mention to an exercise classmate the family story of my grandmother Florence Davis' brother, Erie Davis, driving from Shipshewana Indiana to Seattle around 1915 in what as either the Davis Special or the Erie Special. I'm amazed that I found this photo and story so easily with just with a quick Google search of "Davis Special." The names are my relatives, Poynter, plus my Davis grandmother's brothers, Merl and Orle. My father, Wm. Robt. Brown was born in Seattle in 1921. I inherited old photos of this car in Shipshewana, Indiana, and many more photos since the Davis family had a professional photo business in Shipshewana, I believe. I have been there twice. (Now Shipshewana is the only town in Indiana listed in the book, "1000 Places to See Before You Die.") Thank you to William Creswell for the great detective work! I hope you or others see my comment so many years since the photo was posted and someone might reply.
    Margie Whitnah mwhitnah@pacbell.net .

  15. crackdog 17 months ago | reply

    mwhitnah@pacbell.net OUTSTANDING!!
    I'm very glad I was able to help. I would love to see the other photos you have of the car.

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