1901 Frazee Automobile


The only one ever made and was the 10th car ever registered (licensed) in Iowa.

George T. Frazee, an Osage jeweler, designed and built the 1901 Frazee at his home on the NW corner of Ninth and Pleasant Street in Osage, Iowa. He was about to make history with his automobile. The Frazee is known as the first gasoline powered automobile manufactured in the State of Iowa. It is the only Frazee model ever in existence and was the 10th car ever registered (licensed) in Iowa.

The car was handmade except for the wheels and tires that were purchased locally. Parts for the motor were cast at the Kelly-Morgan Iron Foundry in Osage.

The two-cylinder valve-in head motor is located under the seat and utilizes a series of sprockets and chains to drive the vehicle. There is no steering wheel; a lever is used to steer the car. The suspension relies on springs similar to the buggies in those days.

George drove the Frazee for many years before it was parked in the grove near his place in the north part of Osage. In 1928 Frank Frazee (son of George) sold the car to Harry E. Byrd of Waterloo, IA. Mr. Byrd restored the car and brought it back to running condition.

Ed Smolik, an avid collector, wanted the Frazee returned to Osage where it began its existence. Ed tried to purchase the car for about fifteen years but Mr. Byrd would not sell. In the mid-1980’s, Ed was finally rewarded for his patience and brought the Frazee back home to Osage. Cedar Valley Memories was established in 1991 with the construction of the Smolik Exhibit building. In 1996, the classroom addition was dedicated and the 1901 Frazee was the focus of attention. The 1901 Frazee Automobile was gifted to the Mitchell County Historical Society by Mr. Smolik to insure the car would always remain in Osage.

In 2001, the Frazee was honored on the 100th year of its birth at the 6th Annual Cedar Valley Memories Power Show and the car was featured as the 2nd , in a series of 8, limited special event postal cancelations.

Cancelation drawing by Lori Mark