A History of the Auto Show
Over one hundred eight years ago, May 1900, J.H. Everest, an up-and-coming young lawyer, ordered the first automobile in Oklahoma City from the Mobile Steamer Company in Chicago. Five years later, there were two car dealers in Oklahoma City, Jeffries Auto Co. at 207 W. California and Oklahoma Auto Company at 124 W. Grand. By 1910, there were ten dealerships all located within a six block area selling lines like Stoddard-Dayton, Winton Six, Chalmers, Flanders, Franklins, Maxwells, EMF, Sellers, Ford and Cadillac.
In 1916 the Oklahoma City Motor Car Dealers’ Association began, as did the Annual Automobile Show. The earliest meeting recorded was on Tuesday evening, November 14, 1916 at the Studebaker Building with President Walter Vesper presiding (note: current day popularity of historic architectural renovation of the Automobile Alley district has saved and restored the original Vesper dealership located on the corner of Broadway and 13th). Meetings were regularly held at the Skirvin Hotel, the Dungeon of the Lee-Huckins Hotel or at the various dealerships.
Minutes from the archives also mention on that day the discussion with Mr. Sumner T. Bisbee of The Daily Oklahoman addressing the subject of a $30 million bond issue to build hard surfaced roads in Oklahoma County. The Association endorsed the bond and recommended the section of road commencing at the end of Linwood Blvd. and running N.W. connecting El Reno Blvd. at Putnam City.
The original ledger books’ earliest recording of the Auto Show was in 1922. It was the 6th annual show.
Sites for the show varied, including locations on the 2nd floor of the John Deere Building, State Fair Grounds, the Live Stock Pavilion, Carhart Motor Company Building (6th & Broadway), and the Coliseum Building in Packingtown.