housestory 1: General Palmer’s New Car

According to Marshall Sprague’s book, Newport in the Rockies, when Colorado Springs’ founder General Palmer needed a car, he went to Strang’s Garage. Sprague wrote of Palmer,

”…he told Elsie to go down to Strang’s Garage and buy one of those new electric autos–compromising his hatred of cars, since electrics didn’t smell, at least. C.G. Strang sent the electric to Glen Eyrie, driven by a teen-aged mechanic who had been christened, coincidentally, Glen Eyrie Martin.”

And the proprietor of Strang’s, Charles Graham (C.G.) Strang, lived in this little house with the great wrap around porch on North El Paso Street.

Built circa 1903, the 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 983 square foot house was home to C.G., his wife Zetta and their three children Mary, Charles and John. The Strangs moved into the house in 1908. They were the third residents, with earlier occupants T.B. Spence and Mrs. C.E. Scott staying just one year each. A 1 bedroom/1 bath structure was added in 1913, perhaps to accommodate Strang’s younger sister Isabella, who had moved in with the family in 1911.

Born in 1861 to a New York wool merchant, C.G. learned the trade of mechanical engineering, but set that aside when health concerns took him to eastern Colorado in 1884. Strang’s mother and several of his siblings followed him to Colorado two years later.

After a stint in sheep ranching with his brother Hubert, C.G. and the Strang clan moved on to Colorado Springs in 1896. C.G. and Hubert then opened C.G. & H Strang, a sporting goods store at 27 N. Tejon Street, the former location of the McCandlish Cigar and Candy Store.

C.G. returned to work as a machinist, with a few years spent on repairing golf clubs and bicycles. He then had the opportunity to work on one of the earliest autos in Colorado Springs, a Locomobile Steamer. Strang went on to open the city’s first auto repair shop. What started as a small business housed at the rear of 119 N. Tejon Street, soon grew into what the Colorado Springs Gazette called “one of the largest (auto shops) in the West.”

C.G.’s health again declined in 1920, and he sold his share of Strang’s Garage to the trio of Charles L. Tutt, William Pufahl, and Charles B. Lansing.

C.G. died of pneumonia in March 1922. The Strang Garage Company  went on to become the region’s first Buick dealership, and was in operation for many years at 24-26 N. Nevada.

• • • • •

Resources:

Colorado Springs City Directory, 1896-1914 volumes.

United States Census, 1920.

Sprague, Marshall. Newport in the Rockies: The Life and Good Times of Colorado Springs. Athens: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 1987, p. 144.

 “C.G. Strang, Pioneer in Motor World, Dead.” Colorado Springs Gazette,  Colorado Springs, Colorado. (March 10, 1922): 1.

“Funerals.” Colorado Springs Gazette,  Colorado Springs, Colorado. (June 27, 1903): 3:1.

“Colorado Springs Firms Associated With Old Days.” Colorado Springs Gazette,  Colorado Springs, Colorado. (July 31, 1921): section 2, 13:1.

“Strang Garage Dates Back 60 Years to Bicycle Shop.” Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph,  Colorado Springs, Colorado. (February 15, 1959): 9:1.

“Strangs Sell Garage Interests.” El Paso County Democrat,  Colorado Springs, Colorado. (February 25, 1921): 1.6.

“Wedding Notices.” Colorado Springs Sunday Gazette & Telegraph,  Colorado Springs, Colorado. (February 12, 1905): p. 20.

“Wedding Notices.” Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette,  Colorado Springs, Colorado. (May 24, 1899): 5:2.

Whitbeck, Doris, “Colorado Springs Octogenarian Reports ‘Best Birthday Ever’.” Colorado Springs Free Press,  Colorado Springs, Colorado. (February 13, 1951): p. 9.

State of Colorado, Division of Vital Statistics, Marriage Record Report

City of Colorado Springs Death Register

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One thought on “housestory 1: General Palmer’s New Car

  1. Pingback: I Have A Crush. | housestory

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