Crossing the Country: Somewhere in Wyoming, 1903
Come Along on the First Cross-Country Road Trip
The idea of driving across the country captured the imagination of millions of Americans. Even before roads stretched across the nation, well-publicized cross-country automobile trips advertised car manufacturers, promoted political causes, and proved that the automobile could be more than an expensive toy. Long-distance road trips and other publicity stunts helped establish the automobile in Americans’ consciousness long before cars became commonplace.
In 1903 H. Nelson Jackson, Sewall Crocker, and their dog, Bud, made the first successful transcontinental automobile trip. The journey was arduous and slow, but their trip made headlines wherever they went. They helped prove that long-distance road travel was a real—if expensive and difficult—possibility.
Winton touring car “Vermont,” 1903
In 1903 H. Nelson Jackson and Sewall K. Crocker completed the first motor trip across the United States in this car, which Jackson named for his home state. It is displayed with reproductions of supplies and equipment that the men carried. They often used a block and tackle to pull the car out of mudholes. When the Winton needed repairs, they telegraphed the factory for parts and awaited delivery by railroad.
Walk to the rear of the Winton to find the next label.
Nell Richardson, Alice Burke, and the “Golden Flier,” 1916
At a time when few women owned or drove cars, taking the wheel was a powerful symbolic act. In 1916 suffragists Nell Richardson and Alice Burke, with their cat, Saxon, drove across and around the country to drum up support for voting rights for women. Their yellow Saxon automobile, nicknamed the “Golden Flier,” became a moving symbol of women’s rights and a podium for speeches in many towns and cities. Sponsored by the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the trip began and ended in New York City. It took five months and covered more than 10,000 miles.
The next tour stop is ahead on your right, around the corner.