Seattle’s first bicycle

The first bicycle to ever make it into Washington Territory arrived on this day in 1879, according to History Link:

On November 14, 1879, the first bicycle ever seen in Washington Territory arrives in Seattle aboard a steamer from San Francisco via Portland.

Seattle Merchant William H. Pumphrey displayed the boy’s size two-wheeler in front of his store at 617 Front Street (later 1st Avenue). On November 18, 1879, Jules Lipsky bought the bicycle for his son.

I almost feel bad for the Lipsky kid. It can’t be that fun being the only kid in town with a bicycle (also, there were no roads).

For more on early Seattle cycling, this MOHAI video from the spring is worth re-watching:

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3 Responses to Seattle’s first bicycle

  1. sb says:

    While there weren’t roads in the sense of paved roads for cars, there were basic roads and paths for carriages/animals/people, etc. Claiming “no roads” kinda perpetuates the notion that we must thank cars for introducing us to the concept of roads.

    We sometimes post old Seattle-related bike things, (that appeared in the Seattle Times) at

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      I was referring to paved roads, the first of which were created for *drum roll* bicycling!

      But it took more than one person with a bike to get those roads paved. Lake Washington Boulevard and Interlaken are two early ones.

  2. Jason L says:

    If you’re into bicycle history and happen to find yourself in western Ohio, the Bicycle Museum of America is well worth checking out. They have a really amazing collection.

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