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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Transportation in America before 1876 Community Dreams: Santa Cruz, California, 1876 Delivering the Goods: Watsonville, California, 1895 A Streetcar City: Washington, D.C., 1900 People on the Move The Connected City: New York, New York, 1920s On the School Bus: Martinsburg, Indiana, 1939 Family Camping: York Beach, Maine, 1930s Roadside Communities: Ring's Rest, Muirkirk, Maryland, 1930s The People's Highway: Route 66, 1930s-1940s Lives on the Railroad: Salisbury, North Carolina, 1927 Americans Adopt the Auto Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949 City and Suburb: Chicago and Park Forest, Illinois, 1950s On the Interstate: I-10, 1956-1990 Transforming the Waterfront: San Francisco and Oakland, California, 1960-1970 Going Global: Los Angeles Introduction First to Drive across the Continent Other Early Trips
Crossing the Country

Somewhere in Wyoming, 1903

You see the 1903 Winton, the first car to cross the country, and the two men and a dog who completed the journey. The car is set on a raised platform, loaded with the kinds of stuff that H. Nelson Jackson and Sewall Crocker took with them on the trip. The car is stuck in a gully, and the men are using a block and tackle to get out of their predicament. Bud the dog waits quietly in encouragement.

View from the exhibition
View from the exhibition

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.

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