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Automobile Topics of Interest

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Automobile Topics of Interest

The New York Times
August 30, 1903

Boston Couple Reach the Arctic Circle With Their Motor Car-Many Races Being Arranged By Different Clubs-Road Plans Between New York and Chicago.

In spite of the popularity of automobile touring in Europe it has remained for an American to be the first to pass within the arctic circle in an automobile.  A cablegram was received in Boston a few days ago from Mr. and Mrs. Charles Glidden of that city, stating that they had arrived at Haparanda, Sweden, just within the arctic circle, on the previous Sunday.

Mr. and Mrs. Glidden left Boston on June 11 with the intention of making an automobile tour through England, Ireland, Wales, Denmark, and Norway, and of penetrating within the arctic region if possible.  They had as their guests Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Corey of Boston.  The party first viewed the international automobile race for the Bennett trophy in Ireland, and then, leaving Dublin on July 5, drove to Portrush, on the north shore of Ireland, passing on the west shore of Lake Leagh, through Tandaragee.  Two days later a drive to the Giants' Causeway was enjoyed, thence along a good road passing through Belfast to Newcastle.  The trip thus continued through the heart of the Wicklow Mountains via Arklow, Wexford, and Waterford to Cork; then through the Killarney section and back to Dublin, maing in all a total of 1,510 miles driven in Ireland.  The roads in Ireland on the whole were most satisfactory, being better than American roads, other than those of State construction, but somewhat inferior to those of France.

On July 16 the car was shipped across the channel to Holyhead, and the following day the travelers drove along the northern coast of Wales and into Hull, England.  Here the car was loaded on a steamer, and on Aug. 3 the party arrived at Copenhagen, and then discovered what a lot of trouble it was to experience before it reached the far northern point in the artic circle.

The first hint of trouble in Norway had reached Mr. Glidden while he was yet in Ireland, and after he had made all his arrangements for the trip, a cablegram informed him that two of the Governors of Norwegian provinces had canceled the permits granted, and other had added restrictions making the journey almost impossible.  Some of these restrictions required advertising in the newspapers six days before leaving a locality, and the notification of Sheriffs of the exact day and hour the car would pass through their territory.  One Governor insisted that a man on horseback should precede the car, warning the populace of its coming and clearing the way, although the speed limit is only fifteen miles and hour.  Mr. Glidden was so discouraged by the outlook that he decided to avoid Norway, and make the journey through Sweden along the west coast of the Gulf of Bothnia into Lapland, where a more northern point could be reached than in Norway.  The last and most difficult stage of the trip was from Gefle, a fortified seaport of Sweden and capital of a province of the same name at the mouth of the Gefle river, 100 miles north of Stockholm and about latitude 60 degrees, to Haparanda, just across the arctic circle.


The Fall automobile racing circuit has already assumed considerable proportions, extending into the middle of October, with only a few vacant dates, and it is probable from the number of proposed race meetings announced which have not yet received allotments, that the season will be extended well into November.  On next Friday and Saturday will be held the race meet of the Cleveland Automobile Club, which will be one of the largest and most important of the season.  Seven races are to be decided each day, and on account of the prominence of the automobile industry in Cleveland the number of competitors will be very large.

The Cleveland races will be followed by those at Detroit on Monday and Tuesday of the following week, and all of the racers will go from Cleveland to Detroit on the intervening day.  On Sept. 12 the Syracuse Automobile Club will hold a race meet in connection with the New York State Fair, and on Sept. 19 the Rhode Island Automobile Club will hold its Fall race meet at Narragansett Park, Providence.

Sept. 26 is the date of the Philadelphia Automobile Club races at Point Breeze Park, and on Oct. 2 will be held the Long Island Automobile Club races at Brighton Beach, followed on Oct. 3 by the third meet of the year at the Empire City track at Yonkers.  The endurance contest of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers will be held on Oct. 7 to 14, terminating at Pittsburgh on the latter date, and will be followed by races, hill-climbing contests, &c., in that city on Oct. 15 and 16.  Besides this national circuit, as it might be called, of important open race meets, a number of local events are scheduled.


The New York and Chicago Road Assocation, of which Col. Albert A. Pope is President, has issued a statement of the progress which has been made to date in the carrying out of its plan for a highway between this city and Chicago.  It is said that the United States is the only civilized country in the world which has no system of improved highways.  With the exception of six states-New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, there is no attempt at an organized plan for securing better roads.  In these States the work has been done only in the last ten years, and the limited appropriation of State money permits of building only a few miles of roads in each county.  As it is, the roads so far constructed have been built in patches, leaving long stretches of intermediate roads that are dusty in dry weather and seas of mud in the rainy season.  On these conditions the average road in the United States is almost impassable, and in many localities the transportation facilities are entirely suspended during many months of the year.

In New Jersey $2,500,000 has been expenden in ten years, and the increased valuation of taxable property reaches the enormous figure of $27,500,000.

Instead of devoting the millions of money that are too often wasted annually in an unskilled attempt at road building, the association is advocating the adoption of a system that will result in having through lines, of continuous roads in the United States.  When every town along this route, and they are separated only by a few miles, awakens to the necessity of this improvement, and builds a good road at any time of the year the highway will be a fact.

The proposed route leads from New York City up the east side of the Hudson River to Rhinebeck, thence through Ulster, Delaware, Broome, Chenango, Tioga, Chemung, Alleghany, Cattaraugus, and Chantauqua Counties in New York, to Erie, Penn., thence it follows the lake shore to Toledo, Ohio, and on to Chicago through Indiana.  Among the important cities and towns the route touches are Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Owego, Elmira, Corning, Hornellsville, Salamanca, Wellsville, Jamestown, and Westfield in New York; Erie, Penn.; Ashtabula, Cleveland, Lorain, Sandusky, Clyde, Fremont, Toledo, and Bryan in Ohio; Butler, Goshen, South Bend, La Porte, Valparaiso, and Hammond in Indiana, and Chicago.  Some stretches of the road are improved, and work is started on other portions.  About 160 miles of the road in the lower tier counties in New York State will be completed this year.  Efforts are being made to have the stretch of road in the panhandle of Pennsylvania finished as quickly as possible.

Improvements in parts of Ohio are also being made.  Fully twenty-five miles in and out of Toledo and twenty miles at Hammond are improved.  That this proposition of building on continuous road is popular and meets with general favor is shown by the co-operation already secured, as well as the indorsement given to it by many municipal councils and commercial organizations.  The plan has been indorsed by the automobile clubs in this city, Brooklyn, Providence, and Chicago, the Associated Cycling Clubs of the City of New York, the Board of Trade of Dehli, N. Y., the Common Council of Jamestown, N. Y., the Board of Supervisors of Ulster County, N. Y., and the Chamber of Commerce of Erie, Penn., and of Sandusky, Ohio.


The Automobile Club of Syracuse is making great efforts to awaken interestthroughout the State in the automobile races to be held in connection with the New York State Fair in that city on Saturday, Sept. 12.  Assurances have been received from various clubs in the State that delegations will run their machines to Syracuse to attend the meet and take part in the big parade to be held the night before.  At the last parade of the club, a year ago, about forty machines were in line, and it is expected that over 125 will take part next month.  The club will probably engage a room in the business section where visiting automobilists can be given a welcome.  The State Fair Commission voted the club $1,000 and offered to furnish all advertising matter.  Posters are now being put up all over the State, calling attention to the races.  The club will put up cups valued at from $150 to $200 apiece.  The programme of events is as follows:  Two-mile motor cycle race, five-mile race for cars of 800 pounds or under, ten-mile race for cars under 1,200 pounds, fifteen-mile race for cars under 1,800 pounds, and open mile record trials.  In addition, a number of match races are being arranged.


Usually when an automobile and a railroad locomotive come into collision the automobile suffers most, but a curious reversal of the usual result is reported from Interlaken, Switzerland, where an automobile driven by C. D. Ellis of this city ran into a locomotive and badly damaged it, but the automobile was uninjured.  Mr. Ellis had just purchased a big car in Paris, intending to drive it to Geneva.  On the way he neared a station where a locomotive was shunting freight cars from the main line to a switch.  Mr. Ellis was driving at a high rate of speed, and seeing he could not stop in time, he advanced his speed and tried to cross ahead of the engine.  Instead of missing it the automobile crashed head on into the locomotive.  The automobile received the shock mostly in the tires of the front wheels and was not injured beyond some twisting of radiator pipes.  The railroad locomotive was damaged so much that Mr. Ellis had to give bond in security for damages before he was allowed to proceed on his journey.


Harry Geer of St. Louis made a trip from St. Louis to Chicago on a motor cycle last week, covering the distance of 372 miles in a total time of 59 hours and 20 minutes, of which 23 hours and 13 minutes were spent in riding.  The average time was about sixteen miles an hour.  The fastest time ever made between the two cities with a motor car was last November, when Harry Turner covered the distance in 21 hours actual running time.

Geer left St. Louis at 4 o'clock Monday morning and arrived at Edwardsville, Ill., at 6 o'clock in the morning.  Springfield was reached at 4:10 P. M., and a stop made there for the night.  At 6 o'clock Tuesday morning he started again, reaching Bloomington at 1:40 in the afternoon.  He rested there until 3 o'clock, and then continued on to Pontiac, where he spent the night.  Leaving Pontiac at 6:30 Wednesday morning, he arrived at Chicago at 3:20 in the afternoon.

The fastest time made on the trip was 30.9 miles in 1 hour and 1 minute, from Joliet to Summit.  The ride was trying on Geer's weight, as he lost eighteen pounds during the trip, coming down from 142 pounds to 124.


The programme for the race meet of the Rhode Island Automobile Club, to be held at Narragansett Park on Sept. 19, is as follows:
First Race.-Five miles for gasoline machines weighing 1,200 pounds and under.  First prize, $100; second prize, $50.
Second Race.-Five miles for gasoline machines weighing over 1,200 pounds and under 1,800 pounds.  First prize, $100; second prize, $50.
Third Race.-Five miles for gasoline machines weighing over 1,800 pounds.  First prize, $200; second prize, $100.
Fourth Race.-Three miles, for regulation stock steam cars, all weights.  First prize, $100; second prize, $50.
Fifth Race.-Two miles for stock electric vehicles.  First prize, $100; second prize, $50.
Sixth Race.-Five miles for single motor bicycles.  First prize, $50; second prize, $25; third prize, $10.


Nearly 200 licenses for automobile trucks and delivery wagons have been issued to date by the Secretary of State of New Jersey, of which twenty-two were issued to New York City business houses doing business in New Jersey.  The total number of licenses so far issued is 3,568, adn it is estimated that it will reach 4,00 by Sept. 1.


The Board of Park Commissioners of Louisville, Ky., has decided to take away the licenses of all automobilists who may abuse the priviledge of the park driveways.  Two automobile owners have been deprived of their licenses, and many complaints have been lodged with the board, which has issued about 100 automobile licenses.


An automobile ordinance has been unanimously passed by the Salt Lake (Utah) City Council, making unlawful a speed of more than eight miles an hour, and four miles at crossings.  Automobiles must be registered and numbered, and infractions are punishable by fines of $100 or 100 days in jail, or both.


C. S. Boyd, Superintendent of Public Works of the State of New York has issued an order prohibiting the driving of automobiles on the towpaths of the State canals in consequence of the recent accident near Fort Plain, in which Henry Spaulding of Rochester, while driving an automobile along the towpath of the Erie Canal ran into the canal and was drowned.


The St. Paul (Minn.) Motor Cycle Club has been organized, with A. L. Ege, President, Forest Wood Vice President, A. J. Krank Treasurer, and George Hilgers Secretary.  There are over fifty motor cycles in St. Paul.


The twenty-three motor car owners of Elgin, Ill., met last week and organized a club.  L. B. Garrison was elected President and J. Thomas Secretary.

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