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And the West is History: Harry Jackson with first Durango car – 1904

Today, someone who is first to use or buy a new technology is called an “Early Adopter.” Though the term was first used in the 1960s, it reliably describes Harry Jackson of Durango’s Jackson Hardware Co. in 1903. When he bought this four-cylinder Winton Touring car in the fall of that year, everyone else in La Plata County was still using horses and buggies for transportation. His car is the same model year Winton that Dr. Horatio Jackson (no relation) used to drive across country in the first recorded coast to coast automobile trip in 1903. The 63-day trip from San Francisco to New York had proved that cross-country travel was possible, igniting motorists’ interest in long-distance driving. Harry Jackson’s Winton cost him $2,500 or $77,000 in today’s dollars. His Jackson Hardware store, located at 742 Main Ave., was a very successful business founded in 1884. He clearly had the discretionary income that allowed him to purchase this expensive new piece of transportation. Today, it isn’t rare for someone to spend $77,000 for a vehicle; but at least they have over 4 million miles of paved highway in the United States on which to drive it. When Jackson bought his car, there were only 150 miles of paved roads in all of America. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum (Courtesy of La Plata County Historical Society)