A few weeks ago, I discovered digitized copies of newspapers for Cedar Rapids, Iowa at the Digital Archives of the Cedar Rapids Public Library website. I made several discoveries for my Rottman family that lived near Cedar Rapids.
One of those finds has to do with the identification of a car that my mother was photographed in when she was a child. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true.
Below are two photos of my mom, her brother, and their cousin in an antique (by today’s standards) car. I had no idea where the photo was taken, nor what the year, make, or model was of the car.
While I was doing my newspaper searches, I came across an article in the 14 August 1955 issue of The Cedar Rapids Gazette entitled, “Antique and Classic Autos at Fair.” In part, the article states:
“A 1904 Cadillac owned by Donald and Robert Rottman of Lisbon. This car was purchased new by the Rottmans’ grandfather and is in its third generation in the family.”
When I saw the year of the car, I had a déjà vu moment and thought about the photos above of my mom and the old car. Since there was no photo in the article, I put my thoughts aside, and continued my newspaper search.
Later, I came across another reference to the car in a photo caption, which was in the 11 July 1966 issue of The Cedar Rapids Gazette.
The caption reads:
“AN AFTERNOON PARADE was one of the Legion day features in Mt. Vernon Saturday. In this photo, from left, Roland Rottman, 9, David Rottman, 8, both of Mt. Vernon, and Cindy Levien, 14, of Solon ride in a 1904 Cadillac, which was one of the units in the parade.”
Although it’s hard to tell from the newspaper photo if it’s the same car that my mom was photographed in, I was of the opinion that it was certainly possible. I now had two references to this car and the family, so I emailed my mom both newspaper clippings and asked her if it was the same car. Her response was “Yes—think it’s Bob Rottman’s.” And according to the first article, indeed it was connected to Bob.
The first article indicated that Robert and Donald’s grandfather purchased the car new. That grandfather could have been either John Rottman or James Coster…another mystery for another day.