Image default

Our belated congratulations to Bicycle Policeman Holt


Eric Huffstutler 07/01/2017 at 11:54 PM

This would be Policeman Archie Clay Holt (1889-1986), second precinct.

It looks silly that the policeman outran a car with a bicycle but this is a bit misleading. A slang term for Motorcycle is Bike. This dates back to the 1890s when they started to add small engines to standard safety bicycles. In other 1914 newspaper articles that mention officer Holt and his arrests, it says he is a Motorcycle policeman. I guess different newspaper writers were using the term Bicycle as in motor bicycle (or motorbike)? By 1917, he had advanced to Automobile Policeman.

Even if it was a pedal bicycle, it would not be too hard on these streets at that time, to outrun cars of that era. Ford Model A had a top speed of 28-mph and later Model T, 45-mph.

Some interesting background about Holt. He started with Richmond Police in 1913, became a lieutenant in 1919, injured in the line of duty 1922, and was promoted to captain in 1932. Retired in 1947, due to health reasons. Holt was also an amateur wrestler.

In December 1942, he was appointed mileage administrator for city-owned automobiles under the Office of Civilian Defense. In that position, he studied the use and operation of the vehicles to determine how tires, gasoline and equipment could be conserved and how the vehicles’ mileage could be reduced without interfering with city services.

He lived at: 3003 Montrose Ave. and 2613 Maplewood Rd then moved to Williamsburg after retirement. Holt is buried at Riverview here in Richmond.

A bad driver or just bad luck? C.W. (Chalmers Wetzel) Elliott (1884-1933), a chandelier maker living at 201 Monteiro Avenue, is also seen in 1916 having hit a pedestrian with his car but no charges were filed. The pedestrian’s name was Jaspon Neisz. Elliott died from gas fumes after suffering a heart attack while lighting a gas burner at his work.


Eric Huffstutler 07/02/2017 at 12:40 AM

Of course, this should read (my bad) that Elliott died from gas fumes after suffering a heart attack, while attempting to light a gas burner at his work, W.H. Jenks. A coworker found him on the floor with a match by his hand and the gas to the burner on. Firefighters tried to revive him for half an hour without success. He is also buried at Riverview.

By this time, he had moved from Richmond to Old Church, VA in Hanover County.


P.S. sorry John M. for being a killjoy 😀

TBoyd 07/02/2017 at 8:53 AM

Model A was considerably faster than a Model T; so I think you have those switched. But neat comment, Eric. My first car to drive was a T. 3 pedals on the floor : left one was low gear, clutch, high gear; Middle pedal was reverse (or brake if the brake pedal gave out); Right pedal was the brake. Gas and spark advance on the steering column.

Eric Huffstutler 07/02/2017 at 11:45 AM

@3 TBoyd… I was speaking of the first Model A built 1903-1904 🙂 But yes, the later version would have been faster than the ‘T’.

Melinda 07/04/2017 at 7:27 AM

Thanks for this. Loved reading it.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.