Friday, October 24, 2014

The Evanston Depot

The Evanston City Council has approved mounting a George A. Wyman Memorial plaque on the exterior of the historic Evanston Depot.  This newly restored Union Pacific RR depot was build in 1900 and today is used by the City of Evanston as a public venue for special occasions. 

When approached by the Wyman Memorial Project they were enthusiastic to include the Wyman story into the rich history of this frontier community.  May is the Historic Preservation Month for Evanston and they have invited the Wyman Memorial Project to participate in the dedication ceremony for the plaque on May 29th, the anniversary of his overnight stay.  Below is the story of Wyman's "Iron Butt Motel" stay in the Evanston Depot.  The room in which Wyman slept is pictured below. 

On the evening of May 29, 1903 George A. Wyman arrived in the city of Evanston WY.  He had started the day in Ogden UT and rode the Pilgrim Trail and the transcontinental railroad bed some 80 miles to arrive in town around 8:35.  Here is what Wyman said about his visit to Evanston, WY.

"It was 8:35 p.m. when I reached Evanston in Wyoming, just across the State line from Utah, and, although this is a town of something over 2,000 persons, with half a dozen hotels, the place was crowded with visitors. Every cowboy, ranchman, farmer and miner for many miles around had been there to hear the President speak in the afternoon, and at night food was at famine prices and sleeping accommodations simply not to be had. I was not wanted anywhere and I felt the slight in the difference between welcome given to the President and to me keenly. After trying at a couple of hotels and boarding houses I made up my mind that I would have to sit it out. Chairs however, were at a premium, and I stood and watched a poker game at the hotel until midnight, and then strolled over to the railroad station where I found a chair, and in that I bunked, sore as a stone bruise until morning, leaving the town at 6:20 o'clock.", George A. Wyman, Over the Rockies and the Great Divide to the Prairies, The Motorcycle Magazine, August, 1903

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Hall Bicycle Company

Hall Bicycle Company, c 1903
"When I reached Cedar Rapids my bicycle needed attention more seriously than at any previous time, and this was not to be wondered at, for it had carried me more than 2,300 miles. I went to a bicycle store on Second Avenue where I soldered the loose sprocket lock nut on to the hub. My handlebars were cracked near the head, where holes are drilled for the wires, so I brazed a piece of reinforcing onto them." George A. Wyman, Through the Valleys of the Two Great Rivers to Chicago, The Motorcycle Magazine, September 1903

That tidbit of information led the Project to research the name of the "Second Avenue" bicycle store in Cedar Rapids.  It was a delight to discover that the Hall Bicycle Company is today still a thriving business.  We reached out to the current owner, Karl Moscrip, is the grandson of a man who worked for the original owner at the time of Wyman's visit on Tuesday, June 16, 1903.  The original shop was located at 108 Second Avenue but has since moved to 419 Second Ave.  None the less, it represents an enrichment of the Wyman narrative and is a significant connection.

The Project reached out to the Hall Bicycle Company and received this replay from its current owner, Karl Moscrip.

Mr. Masterson-

Yes, I believe that the bicycle shop mentioned would be Hall Bicycle. Ed Hall started the business in 1898, and the store would have been located 108 2nd Ave at that time. The shop has moved twice since then, but we are still on 2nd Ave, just several blocks from the original location. The 108 address is now a ten story office building. My grandfather went to work for Ed Hall in 1912, and purchased the business in 1929.
I would be honored to receive the plaque to place on our building.
Please let me know if there is anything else you need from me.
Thank you,
Karl Moscrip
Hall Bicycle Company
419 2nd Ave SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

While on the Ground Tour scouting mission I stopped at the Hall Bicycle Company to meet Mr. Moscrip.  He was most enthusiastic about the Wyman connection and was pleased to accept our invitation to mount a Wyman Memorial plaque on the outside of his establishment.