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Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline
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Back Cover
  Chicagoland MG Club:Driveline
Just a Simple Wrench
By Jake and Ann Snyder

Few Chicagoans may be aware that the first automobile race to occur on this continent was held locally, from a site in Jackson Park, just south of the Museum of Science and Industry, to Evanston and back.  This event occurred on Thanksgiving Day, 1895 and was second only to a race held in France in 1893.  Herman H. Kohlsaat, publisher of the Chicago Times-Herald foresaw that such an event could generate interest in the automobile in this country. In July of 1895, he announced that the newspaper would sponsor a race in Chicago with $5,000 in prizes, including $2,000 for the winner. Various accounts state that between 60 and 80 entrants applied, but the race was postponed twice because few were ready. It was finally held Thanksgiving morning of that year, following an overnight snowfall of 6 to 8 inches. Even with the postponements, only 6 vehicles were able to start the race. Two of them had been imported from Germany. Only two vehicles finished the race, but many credit this event with proving that these vehicles were, in fact, a match for horse-drawn carriages.
   In 1995 a centennial commemoration was held, with a retracing of the route by approximately 100 antique and vintage automobiles and the placement of a plaque in the park where eastbound Midway Plaisance meets S. Cornell Avenue.  In the years since the centennial celebration, a number of automobile enthusiasts have met at the site each Thanksgiving morning to observe this moment in Chicago's history. Among the first to mark the observance were members of the Chicagoland MG Club.  Join us this Thanksgiving between 9 and 10 am to commemorate the event. The Rock is located at the northwest corner of S. Cornell and eastbound Midway Plaisance. From Lake Shore Drive take E 57th Street west, then Stoney Island south to east-bound Midway Plaisance. More on the Times-Herald Race in the next issue.
Jake and Ann

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