Alice Ramsey's Amazing Auto Adventure
Alice Ramsey, portrayed by Kathy Noneman, rolled up to the (house) at Bartley Ranch in a vintage Chevy convertible driven by Ed DeMartel of the Hot August Nights organization.
NWHP members and guests greeted Alice on the front steps and escorted her into the building where she was given stage front and center. She regaled those present with stories of her adventures beginning in high school when she wanted to take mechanics and her father had to persuade the school board that Alice would be taking mechanics with all the young men.
Alice apparently was a very indulged young lady - first by her father and then by her older, financially successful husband who gave in to Alice's requests for an automobile when most people were still in the horse and buggy days.
On June 9, 1909, Alice, her two sisters-in-law and a 16 year old neighbood climbed into a brand new Maxwell-Brisco, precursor of the Chrysler, and began a journey across the United States. The Maxwell-Brisco company promoted Alice's drive across the country as a means of encouraging women to drive.
Since there were no automobile roads, Alice, the only driver in the group of four women, drove on wagon tracks and dirt tracks until they reached San Francisco fifty-nine days later. They drove across Nevada and through Reno and if you look at the mural on the east wall of the building on the corner of South Sierra and California Streets, you will see Alice and her passengers.
Alice's adventure offered a unique perspective on early 20th Century America. Alice subsequently drove across the United States more than 30 times. She passed away at age 96 in 1993, having lived to see women driving expertly throughout the United States on paved roads and modern freeways!
Bella Italia (owned by Giuseppe Zappala) catered the luncheon. Bruce Lightfoot and Patty Clock provided creme puffs and designer cookies for dessert. Mary Ann Convis decorated the tables, Holly Walton-Buchanan manned the slide projector and Carrie Porter and Carolyn Gardner held fast at the book table. Thank you also to Grace Davis, Linda Wyckoff, Charlie Noneman, Charlene Foley, Nell Fozard, and Sue Burkhamer. Our very special thanks to Alice Ramsey as portrayed by Kathy Noneman. Both Alice Ramsey and Kathy Noneman are women to be proud of!