The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

July 27, 2009

In 1917, Enid hoped to be the second Detroit

Enid was once home to a successful car manufacturer along local hopes of being the second Detroit, according to automobile historian Bud Smith.

Smith, who is president of Liberty Federal Bank, told Enid Rotary Club Monday about the Geronimo, which was manufactured in Enid from 1917 until 1920.

It was a successful company until the factory was destroyed by fire in 1920, which put the company out of business.

William C. Allen formed the company in 1917 and initially sold $500,000 in stock, a fortune for that time. They began production of the car at 409 S. Grand and the building still has the Geronimo name on it.

There also is one Geronimo remaining, and it is owned by the Enid Region of the Antique Automobile Association of America, which restored the car after it was found in a Kansas pasture.

There were two models of the Geronimo built the 6A-45 and the 4A-40. The first had a six-cylinder 230 cubic inch Rutenberg engine that reportedly obtained 45 horsepower or a 55-horsepower six-cylinder engine. The second vehicle was a four-cylinder model with a Lycoming 166 cubic-inch engine that had 37 horsepower. The four-cylinder model sold for $895, and the six-cylinder model sold for $1,295.

Among the other features were a high-grade motor driven horn, a complete set of tools, a motor-driven tire pump hooked up to the transmission and the hose was enclosed in a compartment behind a small door under the fender.

Because of the popularity of the car, a new and larger plant was built on the “outskirts” of Enid at Cleveland and Oklahoma. The new plant was completed in the fall of 1917. The company purchased ready-made parts from specialty companies and assembled cars of their own design. At the January 1919 stockholders meeting, Allen was re-elected president and the company reported an additional $500,000 in stock sold for a total of $1 million.

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