W. Prince Wells was born in Bloomfield, Spencer Co., Kentucky, January 18, 1866. Became “The Greatest Living Sensational Cyclist” and traveled doing trick riding while selling bicycles. When he began the high-wheel machine was in vogue, but he soon saw the impracticability of the old style and advocated the building of a wheel more practical and safe. Just as soon as the manufacture of the “safety” wheel began, Mr. Wells returned to Louisville in 1890 and established himself as a pioneer int he bicycle business.
He had been in the bicycle business for 20 when the automobile business was born. Mr. Wells had the distinction of being the first person identified with automobile sales in Kentucky, and in 1901 he became the Kentucky representative of the Rambler Corporation. For twenty-eight years he was connected with the Rambler Company, selling bicycles and then automobiles. In 1900 Mr. Wells built his store for bicycles at 538 Fourth St., and in 1905 opened his garage at 718-720 Fourth St., and later a large dealership at 737 Third St.A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians: The Leaders and Representative Men in Commerce, Industry and Modern Activities, Vol. 3, E. Polk Johnson
September 8, 2012 – Old Kentucky Home Tour Display
Antique bikes and informal demonstration of antique riding at its best. Welcoming riders to the village green in Bardstown, Kentucky.
Advertisement from LAW 1896 Souvenir Programme
Waverley Bicycles are built in the largest and best equipped factory in the world. No other bicycles stand so high in the estimation of wheelmen as do the Waverleys. $85. In no point, either in material, workmanship or construction is it possible for them to be excelled. Half Nickel Front Fork. America's Favorites. Indiana Bicycle Co. General Offices and Works. Indianapolis, IND. Eastern Wholesale Branch 339 Broadway, N.Y. Louisville Retail Branch. 320 West Jefferson Street.
The Ohio River circa 1905
"The levee -- Louisville, Kentucky. Sternwheeler Georgia Lee." 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co.
The Southern Exposition
A five-year series of World’s fairs held in Louisville (1883-1887) at what had been the location of the first cycling track in the USA and is now St. James Court in the Old Louisville Preservation District neighborhood. The Southern Exposition was held for 100 days each year. One highlight of the show was the largest to-date installation of incandescent light bulbs, having been recently invented by Thomas Edison (a resident of Louisville sixteen years before), to bring light to the exposition at night. The 5,000 lamps at the exposition was the first large space lighted by incandescence.
Jolly Good Fellows Map
Bicycle road map of the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky and vicinity of Louisville, Ky. compiled from various maps, road books, etc., to the jolly good fellows of the A.A.B.C. for the year 1899. Copyright 1899 by Webster Gazlay. Press Louisville Lithographic Company.
Webster Gazlay (1862-1914) was a draftsman at the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, a civil engineer with the Louisville waterworks, and later an engineer and vice president at the National Concrete Construction Company in Louisville.
1890 Fontaine Ferry Park Stack
These cyclists from 1890 are posing with their bicycles at Louisville’s Fontaine Ferry Park. Note the different bike designs and wheel sizes, and a white jacket and tie on most riders.
The Griswolds - 1896
Mac Griswold and her cousin compare new bicycles at the Griswold home as they prepare to participate in a ride staged by one of several cycling clubs in Louisville in 1896. (photo: UofL Photo Archives)
Louisville History Trivia
Following the 1850 Census, Louisville was reported as the nation's tenth largest city, while Kentucky was reported as the eighth most populous state. (illustration detail: Southern Exposition Poster)