Thurston James Apple
- Spring 1925
Made in Spring 1925
- Thurston, Mickey and Motordrome Help
A love of antique
motorcycles resulted in a life-long romance between a country
boy from Tennessee and a Estonian-French girl from Wisconsin.
Mickey Apple -
In 1911 at age 17,
Thurston James Apple left his rural Tennessee home and went to
work for a roofer in Nashville. A short time later he
bought his first motorcycle for transportation and recreation.
It was an M&M manufactured by Morris & Metz of Brockton,
Massachusetts. It had one cylinder, battery ignition, flat-belt
drive, and more power and which was better engineered and more
serviceable than the M&M.
During the next five
years he rode in motorcycle races and hill climbs throughout the
Central South. He owned and rode a number of interesting
machines which included a five horsepower Harley Davidson single
cylinder with a flat-belt drive and an idler pulley for a
clutch; a 1915 Harley Davidson two cylinder with a square tank,
a three speed transmission and a clutch in the rear wheel; a
19(?) Indian with a clutch and a two speed transmission; a Pope
with a two speed transmission and a Reading Standard with a
three speed transmission.
He considered the
latter two his best machines of the era.
In1916 he went to
work for Frank and Irving Randall, Indian and Excelsior dealer
in Nashville, as a mechanic.
In 1917 he worked
briefly for Hudson Motor Company in Detroit and then enlisted in
the Army. He was made a dispatch rider and was issued a
1917 Harley Davidson military model, twin cylinder, 61 cu. in
After World War 1 he
worked briefly for Roy Nowlin, by then Indian dealer in
Nashville and for a time was a sub dealer under Nowlin for East
In 1919 he built a
Motordrome which he operated throughout the eastern half of the
United States and several Canadian provinces, usually in
conjunction with state fairs, county fairs and carnivals.
His first machines were 1912 Indian Hecstroms which had twin
cylinders, compensating sprocket clutches out no transmissions.
He later replaced the Hedstroms with 1918 and 1919 Indian
Power-Plus engines which had more power and were more
In June, 1921, while
operating his Motordrome in Wausau; Wisconsin, he met and fell
in love with Emma Louise (Mickey) Pakonian whom he married after
a whirlwind courtship. She had never been on a motorcycle
before but she learned quickly. She rode regularly in
their Motordrome until its sale in 1947.
Indian Scout used in
riding in motorcycle races and hill climbs wherever he was
operating his Motordrome until an unhappy Labor Day on September
8, 1925. In a ten mile race at the Tennessee State
Fairground another rider cut into Thurston's machine and he
received injuries which ended his riding days. An account
of this accident which appeared in Bill-board and which gives
details of Thurston Apple's career follows this article.
In 1927 the Apples
began using 37 cu. in. and a few 45 cu. in Indian Scouts in
After the sale of
their Motordrome both continued in the amusement field as key
employees of the permanent amusement park in the Tennessee State
Fairground in Nashville.
Thurston James Apple
passed away in 1965 but Mickey still lives in the Madison
section of Nashville enjoying her two lovely daughters, seven
grandchildren and two great grandchildren Mickey's looks belie
her 79 years
preserved many fine pictures of old time racing greats, of
fascinating early motorcycles and of Motordrome days, some of
which may be shown.
Submitted by Kay
Article by Dan
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