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Dr. Spotz used Race Car to make York County house calls

Dr. G. Emanuel Spotz [1876-1926] (Submitted by Shelly M. Riedel)
Dr. G. Emanuel Spotz [1876-1926] (Submitted by Shelly M. Riedel)
Shelly Riedel submitted this photo of Dr. G. Emanuel Spotz along with neat photos associated with the house at 2025 East Market in Springettsbury Township. She calls this house the “Grande Dame of Market.” This is the Coal Baron built Mansion in Springettsbury,  which became the clubhouse of the York Motor Club in 1912.

Her great-grandfather, Dr. G. Emanuel Spotz, purchased the house when the York Motor Club decided to sell it in 1923. Her grandfather, Thomas Anderton Monk, Jr., resided with his wife, Marie McClure Spotz at 2025 after Dr. Spotz purchased the house and after the passing of G. Emanuel and his wife Helen McClure Spotz. Her father, John S. Monk, MD, grew up in the house, and Shelly remembers many family gatherings there, especially for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. The “Grande Dame of Market” remained in her family for 48-years.

Additional Photos and Details about Dr. Spotz and his Race Cars

The full name of Dr. Spotz is Glatfelter Emanuel Spotz. Most often he went by G. Emanuel Spotz. He was born in York New Salem in 1876 to Clinton M. Spotz and Priscilla (Glatfelter) Spotz, and was named for his grandfather Emanuel Glatfelter.

G. Emanuel Spotz graduated from Philadelphia’s Jefferson Medical College in 1897. His medical practice was licensed in Adams County on July 23, 1897, whereupon he initiated a practice in Hampton, which lasted 15-years. Hampton is an unincorporated community 3-1/2 miles west of East Berlin in Reading Township.

In the spring of 1912, Dr. Spotz returned to college; taking post-graduate courses at the Jefferson and Polyclinic Hospitals in Philadelphia. On March 21, 1913, his license was transferred to York County, whereupon he established a medical practice in York and initially resided at 202 Carlisle Avenue in the west end of York.

Dr. Spotz had a fascination for fast cars. He joined the York Motor Club, in 1913, when their clubhouse was already located at 2025 East Market in Springettsbury Township. Shelly Riedel submitted this circa 1920 photo, of the York Motor Club, that has been passed down in her family.

York Motor Club at 2025 East Market in Springettsbury Township; circa 1920 (Submitted by Shelly M. Riedel)
York Motor Club at 2025 East Market in Springettsbury Township; circa 1920 (Submitted by Shelly M. Riedel)

The formal name for this organization is “The Automobile Association of York County.” Variations of this official name appear as small letters on the interlocking tires within their logo, however the simpler, shorter name “York Motor Club” most often prevails. Here I’ve zoomed in on the York Motor Club sign within the photo submitted by Shelly Riedel.

York Motor Club sign at 2025 East Market in Springettsbury Township; circa 1920 (Submitted by Shelly M. Riedel)
York Motor Club sign at 2025 East Market in Springettsbury Township; circa 1920 (Submitted by Shelly M. Riedel)

Dr. Spotz became good friends with fellow York Motor Club member John William Richley. At the time Mr. Richley was still involved with modifying cars to create really fast cars, which he raced. The fastest Race Car that Richley built started as a 1910 Model-19 Buick. In the summer of 1914, Dr. Spotz purchased that Race Car, which had a top speed of 96-miles-per-hour, from J. W. Richley and used it several years in his medical practice; per page 399 of J. W. Richley’s autobiography “Obstacles No Barrier.”

Richley’s autobiography provides interesting details on innovations he used in creating this fast early Buick. It is my impression that J. W. Richley was truly ahead of his time; quoting from page 395.

I did an awful lot of experimenting that winter of 1912-13, in studying and finding out everything possible to make this car go faster than anything I had ever owned previously. I designed new cams of a different shape entirely from what Buick had used for both intake and exhaust valves. I lightened the pistons by perforating them. I took forty pounds off the flywheel and then put a steel band around it to hold it together.

Instead of putting a higher ratio of gear in it, I put a lower ratio in. My idea was to get all the speed out of that motor possible, to make it pick up quickly in coming out of turns. My whole object and theory was to slow down quickly going into the turns and then pick up very quickly getting out of the turns, so as to make this car faster on the straight-away than anything I ever heard or knew of, and this I accomplished.

When this car was finished, I put disc wheels on it and practically rebuilt the whole machine. I took it out on the Emigsville Pike on the flat and boy, when I cut that thing loose and gave it all she had, I found she would push the speedometer hand up to ninety-six miles an hour on high gear.

When J. W. Richley sold this Race Car to Dr. Spotz in 1914, it had never been defeated in any race. Dr. Spotz used this Race Car to make house calls for several years. Richley did borrow the fast Buick one last time before J. W. Richley finally quit racing; instead concentrating on his automobile dealership, which eventually housed the York County History Center on East Market Street.

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