A North East Automobile Trip

A record setting trip to North East!

The North East Sun of July 4th 1908, carried a story that a man would attempt the unheard-of feat of driving his automobile from Pittsburgh to Buffalo and back in the same day. This was something that had never even been attempted before.
  It was announced that Pittsburgh native, Tom Dunn of the Maxwell-Briscoe Company, would pilot his twenty-four horsepower Maxwell roadster from Pittsburgh by way of Mercer, Meadville, Cambridge Springs, Erie, North East, and Fredonia and register at the automobile club of Buffalo.

    He planned to have lunch in Buffalo and return to Pittsburgh via the same route. If successful, he would travel the 496 miles in twenty-four hours, which was faster than the fastest railroad schedule. The Sun of July 18th reported the success of the trip and the excitement in North East as he passed through. His time for the 466 miles (not the 496 miles stated before he left) from Pittsburgh to Buffalo and back was sixteen hours and eleven minutes. The return trip took seven hours and twenty two minutes. The railroad schedule for that trip was six hours. The record for an automobile for that trip was made by a Pierce Great Arrow which took nine hours and fifty minutes.

    It was reported that even though Main Street in North East was in rough condition, he kept his throttle wide open and from Vine Street to Robinson Street he “only touched the high places.” It also reported “At the elevated cross walk in front of the Park Hotel, the machine jumped in the air fifty feet.”

    The calculated average speed of the car during the trip was twenty-eight and one half miles per hour. The time from Erie to Buffalo was two hours and 41 minutes. His party consisted of a “tire mechanic and observers.”
It was reported that because of Mr. Dunn’s attire, he looked like a highwayman, and at Meadville several shots were fired at the party by the police. No mention was made of needing the services of the tire mechanic.


* Photograph: West Main Street shown at the time of the record -setting trip. The Park Hotel is on the right where the library stands today. Remember, there were trolley tracks down the center of the street at this time.




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