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Chicago to New York – 1915 Style

Despite the lack of real highways and, in some cases, paved roads, a Western Springs resident set a nonstop driving record in his Packard automobile.

Elmore Patterson (left) and his Packard Automobile
Elmore Patterson (left) and his Packard Automobile

Elmore C. Patterson (left), a long-time Western Springs resident, made automotive history on July 13, 1915 when he and a relief driver, second from right, drove his Packard Six from Chicago to New York, a distance of 1,018 miles, in just 35 hours and 43 minutes … that’s a dizzying 28 miles per hour. 

According to records in the archives of the Western Springs Historical Society, speeds “reached as high as 50 miles per hour in some cases.” The car stopped a total of 50 minutes along the way in order to change tires and purchase gasoline. However, this time was included in the total elapsed time.   

In addition to his relief driver, Patterson was accompanied by two observers from the fledgling Chicago Automobile Club. Records also indicate that Patterson carried letters addressed to “police officials and governors of states he passed through to allow him to run in excess of speed laws.”

This was the second time in two years that Patterson had driven the route, the previous trip having taken 41 hours and 17 minutes.

Another view of the automobile, with its occupants, is in the second photo.

While there is no record of Patterson having received a monetary prize for his accomplishment, he was presented with a bronze trophy commemorating the event (see third photo). 


Each week, the Western Springs Historical Society presents a “Blast from the Past”. To view prior stories, visit us at www.westernspringshistory.org. 

 

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