In 1895, 115 years ago this Thanksgiving Day, America’s first automobile race was held. The approximately 54 mile course ran from Jackson Park (now the Museum of Science and Industry) in Chicago to Evanston and back. The procession entered Evanston on Sheridan and proceeded north on Sheridan to Main, west on Main to Forest, north on Forest to Davis, and west on Davis to Chicago Ave. The return was made via Chicago Ave. south to the starting point. Despite a terrible snow and ice storm that Thanksgiving week, the cars were entirely open, with no tops or windshields. Six cars, four gasoline and two electric, started the race. Running at a speed of five miles an hour, ten hours later, two had finished. The race was won by Charles E. Duryea, the inventor of the first successful automobile built in America. The race was re-enacted in 1945.
To see newspaper clippings about the race, visit the third floor clipping file at the library or call us at the Reference Department.