America's first auto race was run on this date in 1895--right through the streets of Chicago.
In 1895 automobiles were a new invention. They were small, open, and delicate. The year before there'd been an open-road race in France. Now the Chicago Times-Herald announced it would sponsor a race.
The event was scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, November 28. The route would cover 54 miles, from Jackson Park to Evanston and back, mostly through the city's parks and boulevards. First prize was $2,000 and a gold medal.
The infant auto community was excited, and the Times-Herald confidently predicted 100 entries. Then, the Monday before the big day, Chicago was hit with 10 inches of snow. Many drivers backed out. But the paper declared that the race would go on.
The sun was shining on Thanksgiving morning, and the snow was beginning to melt. About 2,000 people came out to Jackson Park to see the racers off.