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When we left plucky automobilist Mrs. F.J. Linz yesterday, she had already earned the respect of the San Francisco motoring community. In 1908, Mrs. Linz served as the General Manager for the San Francisco Automobile Show, in only its second running. In 1909, she helped with the program for that year’s Oakland Portola Road Race, part of a celebration of San Francisco’s post-quake renewal.
Robert Sloss’s “What A Woman Can Do With An Auto” story in The Outing Magazine, 1910, implies that Mrs. Linz was anything but idle. She accompanied her husband in delivering an automobile to Shaw Hot Springs, Nevada, just north of Carson City, about 250 miles northeast of San Francisco.
The car’s purchaser, described by Sloss only as “The Italian,” ran a roadhouse at the hot springs. And when Mrs. Linz’s husband had to return prematurely to San Francisco, she volunteered to put the car into operation. The roadhouse owner recognized the novelty of an automobile. Notes Sloss, “It was the first automobile ever seen in Carson City. Not a man there knew a spark plug from a carburetor, and most of the miners were rather shy of the noisy motor.”
The Italian “saw an opportunity to make money by running a car regularly between his hostelry and Carson City, a mile and a half distant, bringing passengers over at a dollar the round trip, including a bath at the hot springs.”
Guess who did the chauffeuring? “Plucky little Mrs. Linz.” And there’s that word again.
For three weeks, Mrs. Linz not only drove the car, but she also washed it, oiled and adjusted the machinery and repaired punctures, which, she said, occurred at the rate of about one an hour. Recalled Mrs. Linz, “I came back to the Springs many a dark night alone.”
Sloss reports, “Her room had no glass and no lock on the door. The only others in the house were the Italian proprietor and a Frenchman who acted as bartender. They went upstairs to bed, each with a rifle under his arm….”
After her chauffeuring days, Mrs. Linz’s 1911 match race with actress Beatrice d’Essling likely felt like a simple drive in the park. It was in Oakland, actually, and part of the entertainment accompanying the Panama Pacific Road Race.
Accompanying d’Essling’s photo, The San Francisco Call, February 22, 1911, wrote, “Miss Beatrice d’Essling, the noted stage beauty, who will drive the Buick racing car in a special match race this afternoon against Mrs. Fred J. Linz of this city over the Panama-Pacific course.”
Her competitor was identified as “Mrs. Fred J. Linz, the plucky [are you surprised?] San Francisco woman who will drive her Maxwell racer against the fair eastern crack. She is being backed by local experts to take the measure of her fair rival.”
Though results of the other Panama-Pacific races can be found, I’m unable to report with certainty who won the d’Essling-Linz match race on Washington’s Birthday 1911. My money would be on the plucky one. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2017