Cruise to the Rock
Thursday, November 28, 2013
It's hard to believe that we have been doing this every Thanksgiving for nearly 20 years. Yes, 1995 marked the Centennial of the Times Herald Race of 1895, an event apparently little-known to many throughout Chicagoland. While the observance in 1995 received a certain amount of attention due to the efforts of the American Autosport Centennial, Inc., in years since, the commemoration has simply had a life of its own, and each year is just a little different. We all remember the year someone in a high-rise complex nearby complained to the CPD and they "asked" everyone to leave. During the following year, we unsuccessfully explored the possibility of getting the City's Office of Special Events to sponsor the gathering, but a better alternative has been to leave it without any formal organization, which might actually ruin the experience, and simply inform the Third District each Thanksgiving morning about what is going on. They have always been very cordial and have even been willing to provide us with a parking courtesy along eastbound Midway Pleasance by the "Rock", which is normally a no-parking zone.
This year, a very polite and professional Officer Gas (real name) answered the phone. After being told that there would be a group of ''car guys" congregating at that location, among them members of the Chicagoland MG Club, he asked "What does MG stand for?" But that's ok- after an explanation of British sports cars from the 60s and 70s (keeping it simple), he said "Oh! Like a Midget! Are all the old cars going to be there again?" It's a good year when a car guy is on duty answering the phone.
This year was bright but cool, and we had 14 club members attend: Doug Clark (68 MGC), Dino and Melissa Perez (MG RV8), Barney Gaylord (MGA), Mark Gannon (MGA), John Kearns (MGB LE), Dave Bralich and Dee Lettieri (MGB), Rich Meseruey and Sundy Mead (MGB LE), Reinout and Henneke Vogt, and Jake and Ann Snyder. As usual, we were interviewed by Bill Wildt for his Motorsports Unlimited program. He always mentions that the Chicagoland MG Club has supported the observance from the start. A number of other car groups, Corvettes in particular, were around but this year we left before the Toys for Tots motorcycles showed up, and many of us made our way to the usual Bridgeport restaurant, previously known as "Stages", but now "Harvey's". It was a memorable way to start Thanksgiving Day and we felt warmer after the event than the cool morning warranted.
Winner of the first car race on American soil
- the rest of the story<
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 in 1895 and was second only to a race held in France in 1893. Herman H. Kohlsaat, publisher of the Chicago Times-Herald saw that such an event could generate interest in the automobile in this country. In June 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