Crossing Wolf Creek Pass in 1916

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
The Hersch and Hatcher families crossed Wolf Creek Pass when it was newly opened but construction still in progress. These photos shows one of their cars narrowly avoiding caroming down the mountainside.

Motter’s note: a few years ago, Marguerite graciously provided me with a typed copy of this story.
Among the first to cross newly opened Wolf Creek Pass in the family autos were the Hersch and Hatcher families. Here is the story of that adventure as told by Myrtle Hersch:
“In February of 1916, our Chalmers car was shipped from Pagosa Springs by Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge railroad to Santa Fe, New Mexico, as the town was snowed in at that time of the year. There, our family, consisting of my husband David, our thirteen-year-old son Joseph, and small daughter Marguerite and I began a leisurely tour of 6,000 miles, through warmer, and lower altitude states. We planned our homecoming over the new pass, later in the summer, from the east side.
“At that time there were none of the luxury motels as of today, so we carried a complete camping equipment with us for comfortable living either inside or out in the wide-open spaces. We did little real camping — like the hotels better. Tent setting we found difficult on soft hands, so we took the easier way, and kept our overnight bags easily within reach.
“On our return we spent some time in Denver, where we bought a new seven passenger Cadillac V-8 car while the Chalmers was being painted and reconditioned. Joseph went into the Cadillac garage and worked and became quite an expert at placing cars, tire changing, greasing, and what-have-you. At that time there were not the rules and regulations for drivers that we have now.
The highway engineer informed us it would be a few more days, as heavy rock work had delayed their progress.”
Continued next week.

This story was posted on December 10, 2019.