In 1912, Gleeson Murphy, vice-president of the General Motors Truck Company predicted that the age of the horseless city was not very far away.  He thought that the horse could disappear from city streets within the present generation.

“Today the horse is a municipal luxury. He cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the streets clean and is a menace to health, especially in the crowded city districts. The horse has retarded the proper sanitation of cities more than any other obstacle. We have tolerated the horse all these years because he has been a necessity, but his day of usefulness is past; he is going into decline. For thousands of years he has been a common beast of burden, but the horseless vehicle has been his undoing. His day of supremacy is now a matter of history.”

“Municipalities, corporations and even smaller firms, who have use for only a single job, are changing their horse equipment for the new as speedily as it can be brought about.”

“To make this statement that it is only a question of time before cities will take some legal action to remove the horse from the streets is not stating an improbability.” He continued, “It is simply a matter of education and time; but that time will surely come, and within the next decade or so.”

1914 photograph of the City Bakery horse-drawn delivery wagon. R.W. Scott (?), proprietor, standing beside the horse and Mrs. Scott (?) and a dog are sitting on the carriage seat. Image from the Galt Museum & Archives on Flickr.