Horse-drawn vehicles number 3,945, autos 14, in a Seattle count done on December 23, 1904.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 8/21/1999
  • Essay 1637

On December 23, 1904, a traffic count is taken at 2nd Avenue and Pike Street in Seattle. During the day, 14 automobiles are sighted along with 3,945 horse-drawn vehicles.

In January 1904, about a year earlier, a traffic count at a nearby intersection found no automobiles, despite the fact that the automobile first arrived in Seattle in 1900.

Several types of horse-drawn vehicles passed through 2nd Avenue and Pike Street. Express wagons had springs to make the ride easier and reduce the chance of upsetting the load. Express wagons hauled such commodities as furniture and meats. Lumber wagons did not have springs and they hauled brick, gravel, sand, coal, and garbage. Horse trucks were probably enclosed delivery vehicles that carried goods like groceries, milk, and laundry. Buggies carried passengers and were driven for pleasure. Automobiles were used mainly for recreation.

Following is the summary of the vehicles that passed through the intersection at 2nd Avenue and Pike Street on December 23, 1904.

  • Express Wagons (1 horse) -------1,375
  • Express Wagons (2 horses) -----1,682
  • Lumber Wagons (2 horses) --------571
  • Lumber Wagons (3 horses) ---------32
  • Lumber Wagons (4 horses) ---------72
  • Horse Trucks (2 horses) ----------32
  • Horse Trucks (4 horses) -----------3
  • Buggies -------------------------178
  • Automobiles ----------------------14

Total -------------------------3,959


Myra L. Phelps, Public Works in Seattle: A Narrative History, The Engineering Department, 1875-1975 (Seattle: Seattle Engineering Department, 1978), 101.

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