November 28, 1895 – The first automobile race in America

The first organized automobile race in the United States took place on this day in 1895 following a July 10 announcement from the Chicago Times-Herald that it would host the race, with a winning prize of $5,000, about $143,000 in today’s dollars. There were 83 vehicles signed up for the race but only six arrived for the race as many automobiles were incomplete or damaged en route to the race. Two were electric vehicles, entered by Morris & Salom of Philadelphia, and Sturgis of Chicago. Four gas powered Benz vehicles ran the race, imported by H. Mueller & Go. of Decatur, Illinois, R. H. Macy & Co. of New York, and The De la Vergne Refrigerating Machine Co. of New York. A Duryea Motor Wagon was the final entrant, and the first to cross the finish line. The Duryea, driven by Charles Duryea, finished the 54 mile course in seven hours and fifty-three minutes, traveling an average of 7 mph. Second place went to the Mueller Benz.   ImagesCharles Duryea and his vehicle – public domainA map of the course – fair useThe Mueller Benz – Public Domain