Shadow Steeds of the Crescent City

The Highwheel Bicycle Era in New Orleans, 1881-1891

Founding of New Orleans Bicycle Club, 1881

In 1881, the New Orleans Bicycle Club formed in a building at Commercial Street and St. Charles, inside the jewelry and pen shop of A. M. Hill. A. M. Hill arrived in New Orleans at nineteen years old, following the end of the Civil War. He had been…

1886 Cycling Tour: New Orleans to Boston

Early on Easter morning 1886, around a hundred people gathered at the Henry Clay Statue outside A. M. Hill Jewelers at St. Charles and Canal. Hill stood dressed in a riding outfit of brown corduroy and knee britches. Charlie Fairchild, Hill’s…

1887 Thanksgiving Day Bicycle Road Race

On a crisp Thanksgiving Day in 1887, a crowd gathered beneath the bare branches of the sycamore trees in the center of Canal Street. Bisected by multiple street railway beds and flanked by the lace-ironwork balconies of multi-story buildings, the…

Carnival on Wheels, 1887

On a February night, a crowd lined St. Charles Avenue from Lee Circle to Louisiana Avenue, twenty-five blocks, to witness a procession of lanterns floating like a swarm of fireflies up the darkened street. First came the bandwagon, pulled along by…

New Orleans Bicycle Club, Clubhouse, built 1892

In 1892, the New Orleans Bicycle Club celebrated the opening of their new clubhouse in the Garden District, at the corner of General Taylor and Baronne. The plans were drafted by W.C. Williams and Brothers and the building was constructed by G.C.…

Clubhouse of the Louisiana Cycling Club, completed 1890

In August of 1890, work was completed on the clubhouse of the Louisiana Cycling Club (LCC) at 1637 Octavia Street. The Queen Anne-style building still stands at that address. The party celebrating its opening was attended by 200 people and claimed to…

First Cycling Races Held on a Track in New Orleans, 1887

In the 1880s, along with the rise of spectator and participatory sports, cycling races appeared in New Orleans. The city's first bicycle club, the New Orleans Bicycle Club, formed in 1881. All members belonged also to the League of American…

Audubon Park Race Track, Cyclists hold League meet in 1887

In September of 1887, New Orleans cyclists held the 3rd annual meet of the League of American Wheelmen (LAW), Louisiana Division, at the Audubon Park Race Track. Originally a horse racing track, it was used for the new sport of bicycle racing. The…

State Cycling Championship of 1891, Held at the Fair Grounds

In the late nineteenth century, bicycles appeared on city streets, country roads, and race tracks. Cycle racing in New Orleans rose with a tide of interest in sports—recreational and spectator—among the middle class. In the summer of 1891, the…