SHREWSBURY – In these days when automobiles with all kinds of technology are the rage, we sometimes forget that there was a time not so long ago when they didn’t even exist. When the automobile did start appearing on local roads, some residents were not thrilled.
One, who used the pseudonym “Rube Howe” sent a letter to the local newspaper complaining. It seems a Worcester motorist, who must have been taken to task for driving too fast in Shrewsbury, wrote a letter threatening to have Shrewsbury wiped off the “AAA auto map,” as (apparently) had been done with the town of Leicester.
The Shrewsbury writer went on to say that this would mean “that the man or woman who owns a good colt or spirited horse could drive him on the road in comparative safety. It would mean that that we need not fear to take a quiet, restful drive on a pleasant summer afternoon. Not howling along 30 miles an hour through a cloud of dust and gas; wrapped up like Egyptian mummies and goggled like submarine divers; oblivious to everything but the sense of rushing through space, but jogging contentedly on over pleasant hillsides and down shady lanes; chatting, laughing, singing―glad to be alive, although wiped off the automobile map.”
The writer concluded: “Old Dobbin will still hold down his job―tilling the soil, taking us to meeting and to market, joyfully prancing to the church steps on our wedding day and demurely threading his way to the church yard, when he gives us our last ride.”
Considering the amount of traffic, how fast people drive, and how few horses remain in Shrewsbury today…it would appear that “Rube Howe” was vastly mistaken!