1900-1925: Ban on cars in Graubünden

What one can hardly imagine today was a fact in Graubünden from 1900 to 1925: there was a ban on cars. There was great resistance in Graubünden against the introduction of the automobile. After strong protests, the cantonal government banned the driving of automobiles on all roads in the canton of Graubünden on August 17, 1900.

With their stench and noise, the speeding automobiles would virtually drive the horses of the stagecoaches and wagons mad. On the narrow mountain roads of Graubünden these motorized monsters were a constantly increasing danger for all other road users. This is how vehemently the Grisons press railed against the emerging automobiles at the beginning of the 20th century.[91]

1925-Pferd vor Auto.jpg

Horse-drawn vehicle with towed automobile in front of Restaurant Krone in Masans. The vehicles were pulled by horses to the Tardis bridge. (StAC, F

However, it couldn't have been too many automobiles that caused this displeasure back then. They were certainly not locals. Since 1897, there had not been a single private car owner in Graubünden. The last one returned his vehicle to the manufacturer for lack of "mountain suitability". So all goods had to be reloaded at the Tamina bridge and horses harnessed to the automobiles.


Photo of the first postbus on the Flims-Reichenau route (ca. 1925, PTT archives)

In 1919, the first post bus line was opened from Reichenau to Flims. This was possible because the Swiss Post Office also did not have to comply with the general ban on driving in the canton of Graubünden. But the resistance was still great. The automobile had long since become a projection screen to get one over on "those up there".[1]

But the ban also had its advantages. The low volume of motorized traffic meant that the roads could be used for other purposes. The road between Malix and Chur was a popular toboggan run, especially in winter. On weekends, the youth of Chur made a pilgrimage to Malix to dance and then sled back to Chur.

The ban on cars was only lifted in 1926 in a referendum. At that time, the attitude of the people of Graubünden towards motorized traffic was rightly judged as backwoods. Rumor has it that Dr. Emil Köhl was one of the first car owners in Chur.

Impressum und rechtliche Hinweise