THE ATTIC

HANSOM CAB
James C. Parmelee 1855-1931
William Samuel, Samuel, Samuel, Ezra, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John
Alice (Maury) Parmelee (1866-1940) and her driver could be seen on the streets of Washington, D.C., about 1920. She and a few other women in the nation's capital owned their own hansom cabs for personal transportation because they found them easier to board.

The Eugene (Ore.) Guard of April, 13, 1926, was one of many nationwide that published a photo of her getting into her cab, Washington's last, with the caption: "Mrs. James Parmelee, prominent society leader, is up in arms over a recent Washington ordinance barring horse-drawn vehicles from certain streets, including the street she lives on." Law or no law, Alice vowed to continue to use her cab, saying "If necessary, I'll drive as near my destination as possible and walk the rest of the way."

Though not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection, her cab has been on display at the museum -- I don't know if it currently is. The photos at right and below are from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Alice's husband, James, worked with W.H. Lawrence and Webb Hayes, son of distant-Parmelee cousin President Rutherford B. Hayes, at Cleveland's National Carbon Co. in the 1880s. James and Myron T. Herrick, the U.S. ambassador to France, built a Superior Avenue granite-and-brick office building near the courts and public buildings in 1893. James became one of the founders of the Cleveland Stock Exchange in 1899 and was its first president.

James and Alice made The Causeway their home in Washington, near the National Cathedral. James and Alice were one of the four principal donors to the cathedral, giving $50,000; one of the four main pillars of the building has "Parmelee" written its base.