Cars a big part of the Hormels

Antique cars that belonged to Hormel family members have been on my mind recently due to photos, newspaper articles, and inquiries from the public.

Ben Hormel and family pictured in his car.  Photo provided

Ben Hormel and family pictured in his car.
Photo provided

According to John Haymond, Mower County Historical Society, there were only 35 automobiles in 1909 in Austin. George and Jay Hormel were named as two automobile owners in that survey, of a White Steamer and a Buick, respectively.

The HHH has a photo on display of Lillian Hormel driving that Steamer. The first White Steamer car was developed by Rollin White in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1900 and was offered to the public in 1901. The Hormels were in good company as president William Howard Taft also owned a White Steamer.

Another mention of a Hormel car occurred in the May 6, 1910, Austin Daily Herald.  “Mrs. Fred Gleason (Lillian’s Sister) accompanied Mrs. George Hormel to Fairbault today in the Hormel’s new Welch car.”  This make of vehicle was produced by the brothers Welch in Michigan and became part of the General Motors Corporation in 1910.

My neighbor recently showed me the hood ornament from a Peerless car dating to the late 1920’s. The story in his family is that it came from a car allegedly belonging to a Hormel family member. I have not found any record of the Hormels owning a Peerless, but, based on their appreciation of fine cars, it is quite possible they did. Peerless was known for building high-quality, luxury automobiles in Cleveland, Ohio from 1900 until 1931.

Ben F. Hormel owned a Buick and apparently had an accident in October, 1908, as recorded in the Herald.

“One of the front wheels of Ben Hormel’s new Buick automobile was demolished this noon in an accident that occurred at the corner of Water and Ash streets (now 4th Ave. NE and 7th St. NE).

“Ben Hormel was driving the car at the time on his way home to dinner. When he started to turn the corner from Ash Street to Water Street a friend of his called out, ‘How fast is she going Ben?’ When he turned his head to answer, the machine had gained the center of the pavement which had just been freshly sprinkled. The front wheels began to skid and before he could gain control of the machine it crashed into a curb. All the spokes were broken out of the wheel and the rim was ruined for further use. Mr. Hormel said that he was not going faster than usual and, had it not been that his attention was diverted just as the machine struck the wet pavement, the accident would not have occurred.”

Many makes and models of cars were driven by the various Hormels in Austin.  I wonder how many types of horse and buggy they owned prior to the introduction of the car.

 Board of Directors

4 p.m., Monday

 Hearth & Home Series

10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6, free

Buggy Rides and Parlor Visits, A History of Courting presented by Jaimie Timm of the Mower County Historical Society. Tying into the new exhibit at the MCHS, Jaimie will describe the common day rituals and traditions of dating in the early 1900’s. This enjoyable topic will surely stir up memories and conversations.

Business

Expanding Opportunity: Austin Ford Chrysler breaks ground on addition, renovation

Mower County

Volunteers are needed for the statewide bumble bee survey

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Convictions June 3-10

Mower County

MnDOT asks motorists, riders to safely share the road during motorcycle convention in Rochester

Mower County

City of Austin to spray for mosquitoes

Mower County

Ikes to host steak cookout

Education

Education: Accolades

Blooming Prairie

Education: Blooming Prairie Honor Roll

Mower County

In Your Community: Duplicate Bridge

Mower County

In Your Community: Mower County Senior Center

News

Family of bystander killed during Minneapolis police pursuit files lawsuit against the city

News

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on rapid-fire rifle bump stocks, reopening political fight

Agriculture

New influenza testing rule for dairy cows going to Minnesota fairs

Mower County

Warrant issued for Jeffer Lorenzo after he fails to show for sentencing

News

Unanimous Supreme Court preserves access to widely used abortion medication

News

Audit finds Minnesota agency’s lax oversight fostered theft of $250M from federal food aid program

Adams

Partnerships celebrated during community event for Mower, Fillmore solar installations

Mower County

Mayo Ambulance training program hopes to increase EMT numbers

Business

Workforce Development one of nine organizations to receive funding to train underrepresented workers for clean energy careers

News

Minneapolis police officer killed while responding to a shooting call is remembered as a hero

Mower County

Documentary follows AHS class across 50 years

Mower County

2024 Friendship Wagon Train coming to the area

Agriculture

New funding available for continuous living cover grants

Mower County

MDH inviting well users to seminar on nitrates