1909: A Bicycle Pioneer and Good Roads Advocate Completes His Life’s Journey

August 10, 1909

Pioneering bicycle manufacturer and good roads advocate Albert Augustus Pope, who also became involved in producing early automobiles, died at his summer home (known as Lindermere-by-the-Sea) in the town of Cohasset, Massachusetts, at the age of 66. Pope was born in Boston in 1843, and served in the Union Army during the Civil War.  He lived with his wife and children in the Boston suburb of Newton. 

Pope was elected to the Newton Common Council in 1875 and it was in this capacity that he traveled to the Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia in the summer of the following year. While attending the exposition, he saw a display of high-wheeled bicycles that had been brought over from Europe. An intrigued Pope put off returning home so that he could more fully examine the bicycles on exhibit in Philadelphia. 

Over the next few years, Pope not only learned how to ride a bicycle but also marketed and sold a number of models that were imported from England and built in the United States. He managed his bicycle business, the Pope Manufacturing Company, from an office in Boston. By the mid-1890s, Pope was selling approximately a quarter-million bicycles per year. He also helped establish the Massachusetts Bicycle Club in Boston. 

Pope assumed a strong leadership role as well when it came to the need for improved roads on which to ride bicycles. He helped form the League of American Wheelmen in 1880, and that group turned out to be instrumental in shaping the Good Roads Movement. Starting in 1896, Pope branched out into producing automobiles as well. He is widely credited, as a matter of fact, with being among the first automobile manufacturers to use mass-production techniques for that mode of transportation.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on Albert A. Pope, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Augustus_Pope

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