For her 90th birthday, Clara Andersen received a special gift a model of the first automobile in Utah. And like the state's original "horseless carriage," the model was built by family members.
According to an April 23, 1921, Deseret News article, Andersen's grandfather, Lehi pioneer John Devey, built the first automobile in the state. In a photograph accompanying the article, a youthful Andersen sits next to Devey in the contraption.After years of neglect, little but the photograph remained of the once-prized vehicle, according to Andersen's son-in-law, Richard Catmull. So the family got together a year ago and decided to re-create Devey's work in scale-model form.
First, they blew up the old photograph and studied the details of the automobile, which appeared to live up to the name "horseless carriage" with its large spoke wheels and high seat. Driven for about 10 years, it could go as fast as 20 mph.
Then Andersen's brother, John Hutching, 80, went to work, using the skills he learned from clockmaking. Other family members helped with the wheels and finishing touches.
The gift was presented to Andersen at a March 26 birthday party. There was no shortage of guests Andersen has 15 living children, 83 grandchildren, 191 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great-grandchildren.