Monday, July 05, 2010

13th Annual Meeting of the League of American Wheelmen

Now known as the League of American Bicyclists, the League of American Wheelmen began in 1880. The group is credited with getting paved roads in the U.S. before the automobile became the most widely used form of transportation in America.

At the turn of the twentieth century millions of bicycles were owned in the United States. Bicycles provided an inexpensive, yet convenient mode of transportation.

From July 3 to July 5, 1893, the 13th Annual Meeting of the Ohio Division of the League of American Wheelmen was held in Sandusky, Ohio. Printed by I. F. Mack & Brother, the 78 page program from this event is housed at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The Sloane House served as Headquarters for the event, but there were nine hotels providing lodging for the attendees. Nightly rates for the Sandusky hotels ranged from $1.00 to $3.00 per night.
George R. Prout, who was chairman of the Executive Committee of the 13th Annual Meet, also ran several advertisements on the program. Mr. Prout was the Sandusky agent for the Sunol Racer model of bicycle. Mr. Prout’s store on Water Street also sold and repaired Victor bicycles.

The first day of the annual meeting featured an excursion to Cedar Point, with a concert by the Great Western Band. There was a reception and a dance in the evening hours. The Grand Annual Parade was held on July 4, 1893, followed by races at the Erie County Fair Grounds, and a concert and fireworks that evening. On the final day of the event, there was an excursion to Kelleys Island, Put in Bay, and Middle Bass Island.

While we do not have photographs from the bicycle races held in Sandusky in 1893, the photograph below was taken at the Erie County Fairgrounds in 1914.
If you would like to view the program of the 13th Annual Meet of the League of American Wheelmen, Ohio Division, ask for assistance at the Reference Services desk. The local advertisements and listings of committee members from Sandusky provide a look into the past.

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