On a lark, I went to Chronicling America, which is a Library of Congress site that has newspaper articles. It’s also free, which is why I was reading it and not the New York Times, which charges like $3.95 an article.
Anyway, I was reading the January 1st, 1900 edition of The Sun, a New York newspaper. And there’s some interesting things in there.
For instance, on the first page there’s an article about a Filipino terrorist attack being thwarted. So even back then there were terrorists throwing bombs around.
Also in there, on page 10, is an ad for the Hotel Gerard. I noticed it said “New and absolutely Fire-Proof Steel Construction.” So I looked it up on Google, perversly and morbidly hoping that it had burned down at some point. But, no, it appears the building is still standing. As near as I can tell it’s an apartment building now, but I could be wrong. So, how cool is that? Built in 1894 and it’s still standing in 2008.
Finally, in the April 26, 1903 edition of the New York Times (it was free), there’s an article about an automobile club setting up a long-distance drive from Chicago, IL to Mammoth Cave, KY.
On the first day, they were expecting to cover a whopping 40 miles (with a stop for lunch). The other legs of the journey are roughly 70 miles long. They were expecting to make the trip down to Kentucky in 8 days, but really push themselves on the way back in six days.
If you check Google Maps you’ll see that the distance is 391 miles. A trip you can make today in 6 hours and 20 minutes.
I’m figuring that they averaged somewhere around 10 miles an hour for the trip, allowing for not having their faces ripped off due to speeds in excess of 25MPH.
At least they had the opportunity to drive 64 miles on the “finest gravel roads in the country.”
The next time you feel like bitching about how long it takes to drive downtown, you might want to keep that in mind.