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Arkansas Travelers: 1920

Arkansas Travelers: 1920

San Francisco circa 1920. Three gents in a dusty touring car with Arkansas and Colorado tags (and Yellowstone National Park windshield pass) are the stars of this 5x7 glass negative with the caption "Studebaker. Chester N. Weaver Co., S.E. corner Van Ness & California. Remodeled and occupied by Crocker-Citizens' Bank in 1967." Photo by Christopher Helin. View full size.


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Studebaker, Tags, & the Day-Elder Dealer

Based on the Studebaker and the tags on it, the photo can be conclusively identified as being taken in 1920.

The Studebaker shown is a 1920-21 Big Six which is easily identifiable by the height of the hood, the number of louvers on the hood, and the windshield with the small lights at the lower corners. The wind wings at the side of the windshield are an accessory.

As mentioned by 'Alex' below, the vertical "COLO" on the license plate identifies Colorado as the state issued, but this feature was also used in 1920 for the front license plate. This was the first year that Colorado issued a front license plate. What is shown in the photo, however, is not the accidental placement of the front tag on the back.

The number '0' next to 'COLO' indicates this is a "Guest" license plate that was issued to people traveling through Colorado. Full reciprocity between all 48 states did not exist at this time, so some states required you to obtain an additional license plate. The embossed format on the Guest plate shown only matches 1920. The 1921 Colorado Guest tag was not embossed, and later year Guest plates are also of a different style. The size and coloring of the Arkansas tag also points towards the same year, therefore I have to conclude the photo is from 1920. A photo of a 1920 Colorado Guest license plate is below.

The Chester N. Weaver Co., a Studebaker and Day-Elder distributor, can be seen here on Shorpy. Note the worm drive depiction in the Day-Elder logo in the window above the car.

Arkansas & Colorado tags

As a keen observer, Dave notices every detail. As a foreigner, I was not aware that a license plate could also be called a tag, but O.K. now I know. Finding examples of circa 1920 license plates was not that easy, but I finally found a site worldlicenseplates, which provides images of (nearly) all years and all countries. There I found that in Colorado only the years 1913 thru 1918 (**Correction** and 1920!) had the letters "COLO" vertically on the left side (Arkansas had these plates until 1923), so the photograph should be dated in those years.
Unfortunately I could not find an example of the Yellowstone National Park windshield pass.

Glass sidewalks

Glass sidewalks

Don't see much of those glass dot sidewalks any more. As I recall, they were designed to deliver daylight to the basement below.

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