Historic Fritchle Electric Car Restored and Back Home at History Colorado Center
WHO: The History Colorado Center “Denver A to Z” exhibit taps into the essence of Denver letter by letter—“A” for adrenaline, “Z” for zombies and every letter in between. “Denver A to Z” represents the heart, the art, the whimsy and the energy of Denver’s people, places and moments in this lighthearted and interactive exhibit. But until recently, the featured item for the letter E has been out for renovation and repair due to an unfortunate water main break at a storage warehouse back in 2012.
The letter E begins many words that imply strength and resilience. Extraordinary. Exceptional. Excellent. Energy. Electric. AND Enduring. All words that describe this famous and first electric car, the Fritchle, manufactured here in Denver in the early 1900s. In fact, the Fritchle Car Company was once housed at what is now the Fillmore Auditorium (Colfax Avenue and Clarkson Street).
WHEN: The restored Fritchle electric automobile will be reinstalled at the History Colorado Center at 1200 Broadway in Denver on August 12. Opportunities to photograph the process and talk with subject subject-matter experts will begin at 8:45 a.m.
WHAT: FUN FRITCHLE FACTS:
The first Fritchle electric car was produced in 1905 and, by the end of 1907, another 20 or so had been delivered to customers in the Denver area.
The Fritchle was one of Molly Brown’s favorite vehicles. She owned and drove one for several years.
The Fritchle battery system permitted a driving range of 100 miles or more over relatively level terrain between overnight charges, a rare capability in the early years of the last century.
Because few parts suppliers were available, Fritchle became noted for manufacturing both the batteries and virtually all of the mechanical and body components for his cars.
Fritchle also maintained a repair center and charging station in Denver for the convenience of his local customers.
The Fritchle batteries generally lasted for more than 10,000 miles and could be replaced at a cost of US$208.
The cars were advertised and trademarked as "100-mile Fritchle Electrics," and they lived up to this claim.
Another feature of the Fritchle was a regeneration system in which the motor became a generator when the car was coasting downhill, thereby partly recharging the batteries
The Fritchle’s return to the History Colorado Center rounds out the family-friendly “Denver A to Z” exhibit showcasing fun interactive displays and features, such as:
Digital “throwdown matches” between Denver icons, including Mary Elitch, Molly Brown, John Elway, Tom Shane and more.
A sculpture of Denver’s famous “Barrel Man,” Tim McKernan, paying homage to Denver’s spirit for sports.
A reproduction of Lawrence Argent’s Blue Bear, giving visitors an opportunity for a photo opportunity with the full bear.
Learning stations revealing more about Denver’s robust public arts program.
And a wall of beer bottles from local breweries honoring this growing Denver tradition, past and present.
WHY: Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime installation. It won’t happen again.
History Colorado's mission is to inspire generations to find wonder and meaning in our past and to engage in creating a better Colorado. We serve as the state's memory, preserving the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through our museums, educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections, and outreach to Colorado communities. Find History Colorado on all major social media platforms. Visit HistoryColorado.org or call (303) HISTORY for more information.
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