homepage logo

First car in Frost appeared 100 years ago…

By Staff | Jun 21, 2008

One hundred years ago, there were not many cars on the roads, especially in places like rural Faribault County.

In 1908 the very first car came to the small town of Frost. It had been purchased by A. A. Erdahl, and he hoped to sell them.

His daughter, Agnes Lincoln of Frost, doesn’t remember that day, because she is only 92 years old, and wasn’t born at the time. But she does remember a lot of the details from family stories she has heard.

Her father was in business with his father-in-law, Rasmus M. Brekke. They owned a general merchandise store together.

A. A. Erdahl bought a new 1908 “Brush” automobile, and used it as the family car and as sort of a “dealer demo.”

Agnes recalls the story of how her father decided one day to drive on the dirt road south of town to see August Egeness who lived about a mile out of Frost.

A. A. asked August if he would like a ride in the auto. August was very excited to do so, because he had never seen a car before. He got in and they had a nice ride.

But no sale. August said he would have loved to get one, but could not afford one.

Then about 20 years ago, Agnes just happened to sit next to Esther (Egeness) Baum, August’s daughter, at a meeting.

She told Agnes this story.

When Esther was in the first or second grade at the Frost School, she saw A. A. Erdahl drive into the family yard in a car and they had never seen anything like it. They all gathered around it in awe.

She continued with the story about the test ride.

The next day Esther could hardly wait to go to school and tell everyone, “My dad had a ride in a car!”

She bragged about it to all of her friends and at noon told the two elementary teachers about it. They too had never seen one before, and were excited and interested in it.

Esther told the teachers that no horses were needed and described what it looked like. They said they planned to go see it after school was out.

It was remarkable.

That is a hard concept for a lot of people to grasp. No cars. Most of the current generation grew up not only with cars, but also with television, airplanes, jets, space travel, and telephones.

Not to mention indoor plumbing!

The younger generation probably has a difficult time imagining a time without computers, cell phones or the internet, much less a time when there were no cars.

I’m not old enough to remember a time without cars. But I do remember when cars were big, with massive fenders (called pedestrian killers), and huge engines.

I recall when things like automatic transmissions and air conditioning were expensive options, and most people opted not to have them. Power brakes, power door locks and power windows? Forget about it; they were not even available!

Of course, gas was cheap then (yes, I remember 25 cent per gallon gas) and nobody cared about gas mileage. Until the gas shortage of the 1970s that is.

Lots of things about cars have changed in the past 100 years. The price of them, the style, the numerous amenities.

I try to remember that they are just a way to get from here to there.

But then, so is walking.