Dougherty Museum – Longmont, CO (USA)

Although a significant number of car museums have closed in recent years, there are still a surprising number left, though finding them can take a bit of research. One such is the Dougherty Musuem, located just outside the small town of Longmont, Colorado. Only open on Friday – Sunday from June to August, this museum reflects the life time collection of a turkey farmer from Boulder, CO, called Ray Dougherty. His collection started in 1927, when he was just 17 years old, when he bought a 1900 reed organ. The first car in his collection, acquired in 1940, was a 1913 Model T Ford, identical to the one that his parents had owned and similar to one that they had owned when they moved from Oklahoma to Longmont. During the following years, he bought more cars, trucks, tractors, pianos, organs and music boxes, amassing quite a collection at a time when few people saw value in such items. Most of the items he bought were in excellent and original condition. By the early 1970s, it was clear that he needed more space to store the collection, and a purpose-built facility was constructed just outside Longmont, with room enough to display the entire collection and to be able to open it to the general public. The museum opened in 1977. In 1988, when Ray Dougherty died, the family continued to operate the museum, and then set it up as a private operating foundation, giving it tax benefits in Boulder County.

After receiving a demo of the various music boxes, organs, pianolas, etc, I investigated the vehicles on display, and here is a summary:

1902 Mobile Steamer: this is believed to have been the very first car in Boulder. It is steam powered, and the driver would sit in the backseat and steer with the tiller. There is a mirror on the right of the car, so the driver can see the water level in the steam boiler.

1903 Cadillac Rear Entrance Tonneau: this one cylinder Model was the Cadillac Company’s first car, and sold nearly 2000 examples in its first year of production. Cadillac Automobile Company, as they were initially called, was actually the re-organised Henry Ford Company, one of the Henry’s initial ventures before the successful debut of the Ford Motor Company. It was only in late 1904 that the Cadillac Automobile Company was renamed the Cadillac Motor Car Company, with Henry Leland as General Manager, the man who made Cadillac “great”

1908 Silent Waverly Stanhope: believe it or not, at the start of the 20th century, 38% of the cars on the road were electric, and they appealed especially to women, as they were easy to start and to drive

1908 Cadillac Model T: this was the last of the 1 cylinder engined Cadillacs. The company was acquired by William Durant in 1909, and added to his group of “General Motors”

1909 International Auto Wagon: the International Harvester Company had long been known for making farm equipment, but in 1907 they entered the automotive industry, with two cars: the “Auto wagon” and the “auto buggy”. This is the former, and it was popular among farmers, as the back seat could be removed making the vehicle like a light truck.

1910 Cadillac Model 30: this car was found on a farm in Nebraska, having been stored away in 1916, and it has not run since.

1909 REO Model D: “REO” are the initials of Ransom E Oldsmobile, who having founded the company bearing his name in 1901, promptly left to set up another venture in 1904.

1914 Metz Model 22: this car was famous for having a friction drive system, with gearless transmission

1915 Stanley Steamer: The Stanley Brothers only sold cars, built to order, for cash, and refused to give any form of guarantee on them. They used these vehicles to collect train passengers arriving in Longmont and Loveland to take them up to the famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. This particular car was owned by a Professor from the University of Wyoming, who used it for geology field trips. When the car broke down, he left the car just outside Laramie, WY, and never returned to collect it. It was acquired by Dougherty in the 1950s and needed a lot of restoration work.

1912: EMF: this company only existed from 1909 to 1913, when it was bought out by Studebaker. It was founded by Walter E Flanders, who had been the production manager for Ford and had developed the manufacturing procedure for the Model T.

1909 Fuller Model B: popular in the mid-west because of its high ground clearance, but this car was very slow.

1906 Stevens-Duryea Model R: The Duryea brothers built the first petrol powered car in the US, in 1893, and many say that their initial efforts could be called the birth of the US motor industry

1910 Ford Model T

1908 Packard Model 30

1910 Lozier-Briarcliff: these cars were modelled after the style of Mercedes, and were intended for the very wealthy, with starting prices over $6000 in 1909. Later a cheaper model was introduced, and in 1911 a Lozier participated in the very first Indianapolis 500.

1912 Case Model 40: this made by the same company as makes tractors and other farm equipment. This design was actually from the Pierce-Racine company, and case simply put their name on it – an early form of badge engineering

1913 and 1915 Ford Model T

1914 Stanley Steamer 10 hp: the advent of the electric starter and the fact that these steam cars only had a range of 50 miles or so signified the end for the Stanley soon after this car was made.

Hmm, don’t seem have to a picture of that, but I have this one, and not sure what it is!

1919 Locomobile: this was one of America’s most prestigious cars, and it featured many luxury touches including day and night running lights. The US Government ordered a number of these cars for use by high=ranking officers during the first World War.

1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

1918 Cadillac Model 57: In 1917, the US Army bought thousands of Cadillacs, to be used as staff cars, but Henry Leland wanted to build other things as well, notably airplane engines. The President of GM at the time refused, so Leland created the Lincoln Motor Company, which did just what he wanted. It was only later that Lincoln started to make cars. It was not until the 1920s that Cadillac gained the upper class reputation it has enjoyed ever since.

1917 Studebaker

1916 Franklin Series 8: Franklin cars were air cooled, and they had a tendency to overheat when the car was not headed into the wind, though the company mounted many tests to demonstrate that their cars were in fact durable and superior to more conventionally engineered vehicles.

1913 Lozier Type 72 Riverside

1916 Packard Twin Six: Packard introduced their first V12 model in 1915, calling it the “Twin Six” and it was produced until 1924. These cars were popular, not least because of their relatively low price, of $2600, and almost 10,000 of the model were sold

1916 Stutz Bulldog Special: better known for their racing car, the Bearcat, the Bulldog was intended to be a touring car

1920 Pierce Arrow Model 48: these cars were only ever marketed to the seriously wealthy. An extensive options list was available to complement the luxury fittings of the “standard” cars.

1937 Lincoln Zephyr V12

1924 Buick: this car has only covered 9000 miles since new

1928 Studebaker

1917 Studebaker 3 Passenger Roadster Model 40

1916 Detroit Electric Coupe

1929 Ford Model A Roadster and Sedan

In addition, the museum contains a fascinating display of farm equipment, coaches and an old fire engine.

1928 American La France Pumper – this engine saw service until 1955.

A fascinating collection all told, and well worth the $5.00 entry fee and taking an hour or so out of your schedule if you are in the area, on the right day, at the time of year when the museum is open.

2009-06-29 14:55:13

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