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The Automobilist: 1910

Detroit circa 1910. "Automobile on town street." More specifically, Jefferson Avenue at East Grand Boulevard. The building at right is Moesta's Tavern at 1407 Jefferson (also seen here). 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Detroit circa 1910. "Automobile on town street." More specifically, Jefferson Avenue at East Grand Boulevard. The building at right is Moesta's Tavern at 1407 Jefferson (also seen here). 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Moesta's Saloon in Detroit

I found the following information online, but there was no date attached to the newspaper article nor the newspaper name.

"Detroit's most famous east side saloon, on Jefferson avenue at East Grand Boulevard since 1875, is being torn down. Formerly the headquarters of Detroit River yachtsmen, it was operated by Henry Moesta until prohibition drove him from business. His father, Henry Moesta the first, founded the tavern." Henry (the first) ran the business for about 17 years, and Henry (the second) continued on for another 23 years - roughly 1879 - 1919.

"I would have grown rich, like so many others," said Henry Moesta the second. "I preferred to obey the law like my father before me and keep always the memory of the honest place he constructed."

"The Moesta place was taken over by Harry Gordon when prohibition arrived."

"Henry Moesta's brother, Charles was also a famous tavern-keeper until prohibition arrived, when he too abandoned the business."

The story also states, "Now they are tearing the tavern down to make way for a bridge boulevard and the marine atmosphere that attached the vicinity of Jefferson avenue and East Grand Boulevard with the fresh flavor of the inland seas will never be the same again."

The street address was 1407 Jefferson Avenue which was directly across the street from the Detroit River. In the Detroit phone directory the business was described as a "Restaurant and Cafe, Imported and Domestic Wines, Liquors, and Cigars."

The photos below show the sign in front of Moesta's Saloon and a photo of part of the newspaper article showing Henry Moesta (the second) and his brother Charles Moesta along with two views of the business.

Note: This main portion of the article was very out of focus and I tried to copy everything correctly, but some words may not be correct in my quotes because reading portions of the text was so difficult.

Amazingly, there is actually a photo of the inside of the Moesta Saloon here.


The auto looks like it might be a 1906 - 1908 Pungs-Finch (P-F) car made in Detroit, Michigan from 1904 - 1910. What first led me to this conclusion was the script lettering on the radiator - which although blurred seems to be two words. The script is certainly is not the word "Buick," but there are many similarities between the two marques.

Other identifying features in common with a P-F are the radiator shape and single strap running across the hood; tie bar below the front chassis; front axle almost directly below the radiator; rounded cowl shape and lights only on the cowl as seen in all early P-F advertising; fender line; tank or muffler below the left side chassis; and the curved body line from the top of the cowl to the front of the seat.

I am not 100% sure it is a P-F because I have not found any other photos with this exact script on the radiator or the horizontal lines running across the radiator. Everything else seems to match perfectly.

The Pungs-Fitch was made by a father and his son-in-law (W.A. Pungs and E.B. Finch). Pungs supplied the money and Finch supplied the engineering ability. They bought out the Sintz Gas Engine Company and claimed Sintz' history as their own. It is estimated that only a few hundred cars were made during their seven years in production and only two cars appear to survive.

The cars shown below are from the January 1, 1909 Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal. The fenders have been modernized, but otherwise looks nearly identical to the earlier models. Note that the Runabout and Touring Models used different hoods.


Jefferson Avenue and East Grand Boulevard. Shown below circa 1936.

Early Buick

My guess on the make of automobile is A Buick Model 10 (produced from 1908 - 1911). This appears to be a runabout version without the back seat. Very sporty, no matter what.

You big dummy...

The driver of that car sure looks a lot like Fred G. Sanford to me...the G is for gasoline.

Wealth creation

The home on the left is a great house. Even when wages were only a dollar a day, there have been people that could do things that would make them rich. I think that is wonderful.

Moesta's Store?

The illegible shopfront sign got me curious, so I rummaged around in the LOC's Detroit Publishing Co. images that included automobiles. There are two more views of this street scene in the collection, taken at slightly different times, but each with a passing car. The LOC cataloger devised the titles from scrutiny of the original 5x7 glass negatives, listing one as "Street with automobile and Moesta's store," (LC-D418-31165) and the other as "Street with Moesta's store and Fuller Savings Bank" (LC-D418-31166). I'm not sure that the reading of "Store" is quite right, since the S-word looks longer than that in the image posted here, but the "Moesta" seems correct. There don't seem to be any other online references to these businesses, but a Moesta family genealogy page (a German surname later anglicized to Mesta) suggests Pittsburgh, PA as a possible locale for the period of the photo.

WHAT is the world coming to?

Danged hot-rodders!

Seriously, can anyone make out the model of the car?

This looks to have been in an upper-class neighborhood. Look at the size of the houses and how clean everything was. Also, no packs of "feral children" are running wild in the streets!


What are the words in the window of the building to the far right?

[Too blurry to tell. - Dave]

A pair of gloves like that?

Put me down as one owner; got them about 35 years ago, kept the leather (hand) part nearly soaked in mink oil. The long fur sleeves are wonderful, used them today with the temps in the teens. Snowmobile used to call them "snot-wipers," the furry part being perfectly located for that work.

Ellie Incognito

I think this is Elinor Blevins in disguise. How many paople would own a pair of gloves like that?

Eat my dust...

I've got a horseless carriage and you guys DON'T!

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