Stories from the Grave

William J. Lucia: 1885-1956

Posted June 23, 2020

I understand on August 8, Brown County Historical Society is hosting a Roaring 20’s Road Rally. Participants will “race” to various historic places in Brown County, answering questions about historical events of the 1920’s and earning points for a prize at the end destination. Hot dog! I wish I was still alive to join in the Rally fun!

I’m one of the Lucia brothers. There were three of us, A. J., Howard and me, William J. My brothers and I were the first automobile dealers in Green Bay. Our business was on Adams St.

It was a “nationwide craze” that got us into the automobile industry. Brother Howard was a bicycling enthusiast and, at age 17, he won a bicycle competition, in Oconto County July 4, 1895. His winning that competition, and his ability to repair bicycles, marked the entrance of the Lucia Brothers in the bicycle business in Oconto. Four years later we set up another shop in Green Bay.

Between 1900 – 1907 the “Horseless Carriage” had started creating quite a sensation…it was a novelty…one that surely wouldn’t last.

Our interest, tinkering ability, and youth drove us…literally…out of the bicycle repair business and into the auto repair business. We believed there was a future in that noisy “horseless carriage.”

Soon, in addition to repairing automobiles, we started bringing autos into our shop to sell. In later years we were the official Packard dealer in Green Bay.

Both A.J. and Howard passed away when they were fairly young and I didn’t have the health or desire to continue the business without them, so in 1936 I sold the business to Rhodes Stathas who had been with our business for many years. I was pleased with him and the sale arrangement. He changed the name from Lucia Brothers to Green Bay Motors Incorporated.

Stop by our Lucia Family plot at Fort Howard some time. The whole family, along with our parents, are together.