FLGenWeb Digital Library and Archives
O. Russell Albright
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923.
ALBRIGHT, O. RUSSELL. In point of years of experience O. RUSSELL ALBRIGHT is one of the oldest
automotive engineers and automobile dealers in Florida. He took up the mechanical end of
the business when the automobile was still in its experimental stages. Mr. ALBRIGHT has for
a number of years been located at St. Petersburg, where he has been the authorized Ford dealer.
He was born in Preston County, West Virginia, March 25, 1888, only son of A. S. and ZOURIE
(FALKENSTEIN) ALBRIGHT, his father also a native of Preston County, West Virginia. His parents
are now living retired at Lakeland, Florida, the family having come to this state in October
1904. There is one daughter NELLIE, wife of E. R. KELLEY of Miami.
O. RUSSELL ALBRIGHT was reared and received his early educational advantages in West Virginia
and was sixteen years of age when he came to Florida with his parents. He soon afterward
entered the University of Florida at Gainesville, and while there took the mechanical engineering
course. After leaving university he began an apprenticeship in a garage in 1909, and became
an expert in everything pertaining to the mechanical and technical operation of automotive
machinery. In 1911 Mr. ALBRIGHT started a machine shop of his own at Gainesville. Six months
later he was awarded the Ford Car Agency in that locality and in 1912 he took in a partner
in the sales end. He continued in this business until the outbreak of the World war and in
August, 1914, sold out his interest at Gainesville. For about a year he assisted his father
in promoting and putting on the market a patented type of automobile jack.
In June 1915, Mr. ALBRIGHT married ADA V. HOOVER, of Muscatine, Iowa. In preparation for
this event he had equipped a Ford car and immediately after their marriage they started on
their honeymoon for California, going by way of Chicago, Omaha, Cheyenne, Salt Lake City,
and Reno to San Francisco. Five or six weeks were spent in California, visiting the Northern
and the Southern end of the state including Los Angeles and San Diego. They returned by the
southern route through Santa Fe, New Mexico, Kansas City, St. Louis, Nashville and back to
Gainesville. They were four months on this transcontinental tour, and covered 10,000 miles.
The record of their trip is contained in a diary which is now an interesting printed volume.
An interesting feature is that they went all the way to California and back as far as Kansas
City with Florida air in two rear tires.
Shortly after his return Mr. ALBRIGHT made application to the Ford Motor Company for the agency
at St. Petersburg, and received a contract from the company on Christmas Day of 1915. In 1919
he built his present plant, a building 100 by 120 feet, fully equipped with every facility
for repair, assembling and supply of stock parts for the Ford car. It is a highly efficient
automobile plant, and recently moving pictures were taken of the industry and displayed all
over the state. On the average of about fifteen men are employed in the business. The first
year Mr. ALBRIGHT's sales totaled twenty-eight cars. In 1921, three hundred and four cars were
sold and distributed from this agency. The total sales for the year aggregated fifty car loads.
Mr. ALBRIGHT has shown himself to be a very public spirited citizen of St. Petersburg since
locating there. He was elected a member of the City Commission in April, 1921, for a two
year term. He is one of the charter directors of the Y. M. C. A., a trustee and financial
secretary of the Lutheran Church and a church councilor. He is a stockholder in the Ninth
Street Bank and Trust Company and is a charter member of the Automobile Club of St. Petersburg.
Mr. And Mrs. ALBRIGHT have one son RUSSELL GEORGE, now six years old, and a daughter MARY
JANE, aged two. Their home is on the North Shore at 416 Twenty-first Avenue, North.
Presented by Nancy Rayburn
This page created Oct 14, 2010
© 2010 Fran Smith