(Note: The following is part of a series of articles looking at the growth of roads and transportation in Georgia and Bulloch County beginning in 1807.)
On Oct. 1, 1905, Statesboro resident L.F. Davis was driving his new car from Savannah to Bulloch County. Unfortunately for him, some 10 miles out of Savannah, the auto began acting up, and before he knew it, it was dead.
Stranded in Arcola, he ended up getting a tow into town behind a mule, which was not at all the way he had expected to make his glorious entrance into the Boro with the very first of these newfangled vehicles to make it that far west of Savannah.
Therefore, when Perry Averitt drove into town on Dec. 5, 1905, in his used 10 horsepower (HP) Ford, editor D.B. Turner of the Bulloch Times reported Averitt’s arrival as the first car driving in Statesboro in the town’s history.
Averitt concurred that his vehicle was the first in town, as it was actually working when it arrived. His car was quite a sight: he had 30-inch-tall tires that were 3 inches wide, and his car's top speed was all of 25 mph.
He also stated that he was advised to go no faster than 15 mph, as he had no windshield and rocks kicked up would hurt quite a lot even at that speed. Averitt also reported that he had paid $600 for his buggy.
The arrival of these vehicles was soon followed by more: Judge S.L. Moore bought a new 22 HP Reo, R. Simmons bought a 30 HP Cadillac and W.H. Blitch bought a 30 HP Buick. Also, Perry Averitt actually established what may have been the first auto dealership in Bulloch County shortly thereafter.
By 1906, some 200 Bulloch County residents had become so upset by these bothersome creatures that a petition was circulated asking for the City Council to ban all “Autoists” from entering town between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
City fathers J.A. and J.F. Brannen, along with G.S. Johnston, were appointed to a citizens committee to draw up some “rules of the road” for this new mode of transportation.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.