Thursday, May 28, 2015

Anita King Reaches New York - over 5,321 miles

Anita King - 1st Woman to Travel Solo Koast to Koast in a Kissel Kar

The first woman to travel alone by automobile - arrived in New York City on October 19, 1915 - 49 days after leaving San Francisco. The October 24th issue of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote:

"Completing one of the most daring undertakings by a woman that the annals of the automobile industry record, Miss Anita King, "The Paramount Girl," who left San Francisco on September 1st last in a KisselKar to drive across the continent, absolutely unescorted by any one, arrived in New York City Tuesday.

Dispatches to the local KisselKar branch received yesterday told of the incident, wires being received both from the New York City branch of the Kissel company and from Miss King. That Miss King's unusual record will stand for some time is not only the opinion of the fair star of the screen, but of hundreds of persons scattered from one end of the country to the other who have watched with considerable interest the progress of the "shadow actress" across the continent in her motor car.

Shortly after Miss King's arrival in old Gotham, the actress, escorted by motorists, sisters and brothers of her profession and "movie" fans by the score, called on Mayor John Purroy Mitchel of New York and delivered to that executive a batch of messages from Mayors of the principal cities of the country through which she had passed, the ones which attracted the most attention being those from Mayor James Rolph, Jr. of San Francisco and Mayor Sebastian of Los Angeles. "There were redeeming features of the journey--many of them--else I never could have held out," Miss King tells the local Kissel branch in her message. "Not once during the entire racking drive did my car fail me and I put it to some terrible tests."

Newspapers Covered Anita King's Journey

Prepared to Go it Alone

Although Anita was prepared to go it alone on her travels, cooking her own meals and camping out on the desert as well as changing tires and repairing her car as needed, she remained unfazed, declaring with confidence: "Why can't women break transcontinental records as well as men? I am out to snatch a few honors as well as to show the men folk the sturdiness of what they call the weaker species when it comes to grit and perseverance. I'll show them, too."

Throughout her journey - Anita made 100 stops at Paramount Movie Theaters along the way and spoke about filmmaking. She was able to drive 100 miles a day - when she hit Nevada - The New York times quoted Aunt Anita in the September 19th paper:

"Leaving Reno on what is known as the Lovelock Road, which is impassable in wet weather, ten miles from Lincoln Highway, I got stuck in the mud. There had been a big cloudburst, but I did not know it, and I worked from 9 o'clock in the morning until 8 o'clock that night shoveling mud.

I got the car out, drove fifty feet, and was stuck again.

It was impossible for me to go on, and I had no food with me as I expected to make Fallon in four hours. I was exhausted so I got blankets out to lie down.

About midnight a mad coyote attacked me, and after a terrible struggle I finally killed him, and knew nothing more until I was picked up by prospectors, who heard the shots of my gun. This was 3:30 A.M., so I must have fought with the coyote for three hours.

The prospectors took me eighteen miles to a station house and gave me food. When I fully recovered I went back and got my car and followed the prospectors to Lovelock. Then I continued on my journey.

The roads were terrible, so hot and dusty, that it took me nine hours to drive 80 and a half miles to Winnemucca."