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The First Race In America?

Most people think the first auto race in America was the 1895 event in Chicago. That race was 54 miles long and was won by Frank Duryea in 10 hours and 23 minutes. But there was a much earlier event held in Wisconsin for steam buggies in 1878. It was some 200 miles long and ran from Green Bay to Madison. A press photo of the Oshkosh, one of the machines is shown above.

There is a very interesting account of the race courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.  It was published in the Capital Times newspaper on May 26, 1921 and is quite interesting to read. I am sure some people will question if this was a race, but we decided to present this because it is quite interesting given the time frame.

5 responses to “The First Race In America?

  1. From the photo provided by Wisconsin Historical Society, it does not appear that this vehicle has steerable wheels. It does not appear to be of a traction engine design. It does resemble a more common type of steam pumper used by fire departments of the era. Are you sure they are talking about self-propelled vehicle? AL

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