If you have (or had) a copy of the October 2012 issue of The Carriage Journal, do you remember that issue’s “The Road Behind” column? Here’s what it said …

[CAA member] Marc Kelley sent us this photo of his great-great-grandfather, along with a great many newspaper clippings, where we found the following story.



In the summer of 1900, Albert L. Johnson, a Cleveland-based owner and promoter of electric streetcars, took his Brewster Park Drag and six horses to London. On July 7, New York’s Herald newspaper printed this story, submitted by the paper’s European correspondent.

“Considerable sensation would appear to have been created yesterday afternoon when Mr. Albert L. Johnson, the American coaching expert, drove a team of six horses out of the small yard where he keeps his coach, at Knightsbridge. It had been suggested that he should put on the leaders outside, but this very remarkable driver would have none of that. A large crowd had gathered to see what would happen, and people lined the streets in Hansom Cabs at the curbs, expecting evidently that there would be at least a tangle up.

“Mr. Johnson drove out undisturbed by the amount of attention paid to him and with apparently the same ease as though he were driving a four or even a pair. The team consisted of a shapely lot of bays, three American and three English, with a swing bar connecting the pole and the leaders and running between the swinging team.

“Amid gaping policemen and people, and buses and cabs, stopping to watch Mr. Johnson drive into Hyde Park, there began a series of tests in driving figures of eight and short turns. Then, through the green park he drove through the crowded traffic of Pall Mall, drawing up in fine style at the Carlton Hotel. From there, he turned short round in the street, and through congested traffic, amid the same scene of attention and apparent amazement, drove with fast speed through Knightsbridge, turning in and out, and finally driving through the narrow gate of the Rutland Yard, under an archway in which all on the roof had to bend low, with scarce six inches to spare on either side of the hubs.

“Even with four-in-hands it is customary in the Rutland Yard to put on the leaders in the street, so you may judge how Mr. Johnson astonished them by calmly driving in and out, and all through the journey he never scraped a bit of varnish.”

Check back here tomorrow afternoon to learn more about Mr. Albert Johnson …