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A New Invention: The Automobile

The turn-of-the-century saw the arrival of a new invention, the automobile and the truck. Some were powered by electricty  while other inventors experimented with steam power. In the end, gasoline soon became the major source of fuel for cars and trucks. Although there were just a few dealerships in Charlotte in the early 1900s, this new way of transportation quickly became popular. Soon horse driven wagons, carriages and buggies disappeared, a long with livery stables, blacksmiths, and saddle makers.

Although, women still could not vote in most of the United States, they could drive a car  to make their daily calls as seen in this photograph.

The automobile sparked new activities such as speed races, long distant contests and stunts to prove how the car would change the future. Osmond Barringer drove the first car into Charlotte in 1902. One year later, he opened the Oldsmobile Dealership. To promote his business, Barringer drove a steam-engine car up Grandfather Mountain in late September of 1908.

It took awhile before good roads caught up with the automobile. This 1907 Buick was driven to Charlotte by C.C. Coddington and Lee Folger. Unfortunately, the car became stuck in the mud on the National Highway between Salisbury and Lexington, North Carolina. 


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