Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Model T Town Car, Helena Cab Company

Research, research, research. Helena had a cab company very early, but for the early years, no records exist. I'm assuming that they used horse-drawn carriages for their upscale passengers, but I can't tell you for certain of that. I have seen many real photo cards and photographs of early Helena, and they did have cabs such as the Model T depicted on the billhead, but what I was looking for was something a little bit more snappy than what Mr. Ford offered.

I browsed Google images for several days, and finally found a photograph of a 1915 Model T Town Car, which I've rendered on this billhead. The sign on the door is 'right'. The license plate - 'right'. The only problem I had was that I couldn't locate an image of a Helena Cab of that vintage, so I used my Artistic License.

I visited the Montana Historical Society and found the archived records for vehicle registration and ownership, and began narrowing my search to locating a proper plate number for a Helena Cab in 1915. What you see is the result of my effort.

Plates were assigned as they were registered with the Secretary of State, but the records are in bound volumes, meaning I had to search line by line for an entry for 1915 for Helena. I had no idea there were over 12,000 vehicles registered in Montana in 1915, and that they also registered motorcycles.

The line item entries are as follows: July 12, 1 N.P. for 50 cents, July 22, 1 N.P. for 50 cents, and July 25, 1 G.N. for 50 cents.

NP is for Northern Pacific, GN is for Great Northern, and both railroads had terminals here in Helena. So, Mr. Nolan paid $1.50 for three trips by cab to the stations.

Any business with an office in the Placer Hotel deserved to own a cab like this one.


  1. I love that you put so much effort into your research but at the same time take artistic license as needed. This car is a beaut!

  2. Must say I like the color of your "yellow" cab. You really do an amazing amount of research. I, on the other hand, am mostly content with what naturally presents itself to me. Nice, MrCachet!

  3. Whatever will be the new invention we are ready to see it. I hope the cab with more influential color will be good looking.

  4. Dear Dave,
    Please contact us about the Towncar Drawing.
    -Don Watson modelttowncarclub@yahoo.com or
    (719)784-1915 Mornings or weekends