News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 24, 2013

Historical treasure: Buggies needed a license, too

Judy Francis
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — While visiting the Vigo County Historical Museum’s exhibit, “The River, the Road, and the Rails,” I was surprised to see a City of Terre Haute Vehicle License issued on Feb. 15, 1899. I hadn’t thought about vehicle licenses being issued at that time.

For a fee of $1, this Vehicle License entitled its owner to operate a buggy in the City of Terre Haute for one year, provided that the holder obeyed the ordinances pertaining to its use. The document bears the signatures of Wm. K. Hamilton, city clerk, and H. C. Steeg, mayor.

The purchaser of this license was Dr. Charles Wyeth, who resided at 700 S. Fourth St. and had an office at 3301⁄2 Wabash Ave He made house calls in his duly-licensed vehicle. A native of Terre Haute born May 7, 1869, he studied medicine at the Medical College of Indiana and spent an extra year at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. After interning at Philadelphia’s Blockley Hospital, he returned to Terre Haute in 1893 and spent 25 years as a general practitioner.

Dr. Wyeth studied radiology at Guys Hospital in London and was a local pioneer in the field of X-Ray technology. In 1931, he became associated with L. A. Malone and limited his practice to radiology. Dr. Wyeth was president of the Indiana Roentgen Ray Society, an honorary member of Union Hospital’s medical staff and recipient of a gold medal from the Indiana Medical Society in recognition of his years of medical service.

After retirement, Dr. Wyeth became a world traveler and collector of art objects. By the time he died at age 92, the city’s oldest physician had traveled many miles since his first application for a buggy license.

Historical Treasure

• The Vigo County Historical Society’s museum is at 1411 S. Sixth St. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through