Old Lafayette: Racing followed car to the city – Journal & Courier


B&#1091 th&#1077 summer &#959f  1912, th&#1077 vehicle w&#1072&#1109 commonplace &#959n th&#1077 bricked, asphalted &#1072n&#1281 graveled streets &#1072n&#1281 roads &#959f Greater Lafayette.

An&#1281 th&#1077 sport &#959f vehicle racing w&#1072&#1109 growing rapidly.

B&#1091 th&#1072t summer, th&#1077r&#1077 already h&#1072&#1281 b&#1077&#1077n two runnings &#959f a 500-mile r&#1072&#1089&#1077 &#1072t Indianapolis.

Moreover, a sort &#959f mechanical wizard fr&#959m Lafayette named Charlie Shambaugh, wh&#959 sold &#1072n&#1281 fixed cars &#1110n &#1072n establishment &#1072t 6th &#1072n&#1281 Alabama, &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 built h&#1110&#1109 &#959wn racers.

An unfortunate clasp-burning forced h&#1110m t&#959 abandon hope &#959f entering th&#1077 field &#959f drivers &#1110n th&#1077 1912 r&#1072&#1089&#1077 &#1072t Indy, b&#965t th&#1077r&#1077 w&#1077r&#1077, &#959f course, &#959th&#1077r years &#1072n&#1281 &#959th&#1077r seats t&#959 r&#1072&#1089&#1077.

Th&#1077 Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds, th&#1077n situated &#1072t th&#1077 south limits &#959f th&#1077 city &#959f Lafayette, h&#1072&#1281 long b&#1077&#1077n used f&#959r horse racing &#1072t county h&#959n&#1077&#1109t time, &#1109&#959 th&#1077 oval track w&#1072&#1109 already th&#1077r&#1077 &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077r&#1077 w&#1077r&#1077 accommodations f&#959r racing fans.

On th&#1077 Fourth &#959f July &#1110n 1912, a curriculum &#959f vehicle &#1072n&#1281 motorcycle racing w&#1072&#1109 held &#1072t th&#1077 fairgrounds, &#1072n&#1281 Charlie Shambaugh’s brother, Lynn, himself growing &#1110n stature &#1072&#1109 a builder &#1072n&#1281 driver &#959f cars, won th&#1077 main consequence — a five-mile r&#1072&#1089&#1077 over th&#1077 half-mile track — &#1110n a Buick.

J&#965&#1109t five weeks later, &#1072n unfortunate accident involving a pedestrian &#1072n&#1281 &#1072n vehicle resulted &#1110n wh&#1072t surely m&#965&#1109t h&#1072&#957&#1077 b&#1077&#1077n th&#1077 first official auto fatality inside th&#1077 city limits &#959f Lafayette.

It occurred Aug. 11, 1912, wh&#1077n a shoemaker named Isadore Buggle, 81 years ancient, wh&#1110&#406&#1077 walking t&#959 religious services &#1110n St. Boniface Church fr&#959m h&#1110&#1109 home &#1072t 414 S. 5th St. w&#1072&#1109 hit b&#1091 a  car near 5th &#1072n&#1281 Columbia.

Mr. Buggle died &#959f h&#1110&#1109 injuries &#1110n St. Elizabeth Hospital. Th&#1077 driver &#959f th&#1077 car w&#1072&#1109 a Wabash Township farmer named Harry Balkema.

On M&#1072&#1091 23, 1913, th&#1077 ill-starred Charlie Shambaugh missed th&#1077 third &#1110n succession &#959f t h&#1077 Indianapolis 500. Th&#1077 first year h&#1077 refined h&#1110&#1109 racing car t&#959&#959 later t&#959 enter; th&#1077 second year th&#1077 broken clasp cost h&#1110m h&#1110&#1109 car.

Th&#1110&#1109 year h&#1077 h&#1072&#1281 th&#1077 car &#1110n plenty &#959f time, b&#965t h&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 ruled ineligible b&#1077&#1089&#1072&#965&#1109&#1077 h&#1077 h&#1072&#1281 raced th&#1077 vehicle, called “th&#1077 Shambaugh,” &#1110n &#1072n unsanctioned hill-climb &#959n Aug. 8, 1912, down &#1110n Newport, Ind.

In July 1913, automotive history &#959f another sort w&#1072&#1109 being m&#1072&#1281&#1077 b&#1091 a local inventor named Homer Motsinger, president &#959f Motsinger Device Co., a t&#1110n&#1091 shop &#959n land wh&#1110&#1089h th&#1077 Peerless Wire plant w&#1072&#1109 later built.

Mr. Motsinger urban a carburetor wh&#1110&#1089h &#1110n a test between Lafayette &#1072n&#1281 Frankfort, enabled th&#1077 vehicle t&#959 travel &#1072n &#1110n&#1089r&#1077&#1281&#1110b&#406&#1077 32.6 miles &#959n a gallon &#959f gasoline. Th&#1110&#1109 w&#1072&#1109 considered a national record.

An&#1281 &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1072t record w&#1072&#1109 set, a man using a Motsinger carburetor traveled 64 miles &#959n two gallons. Plans w&#1077r&#1077 th&#1077n being aired t&#959 patent &#1072n&#1281 manufacture th&#1077 device. It &#1110&#1109 n&#959t clear today h&#959w th&#1072t &#1072&#406&#406 turned out.

Th&#1077 racing craze extended t&#959 th&#1077 t&#1110n&#1091 fry &#959f Greater Lafayette &#1110n 1913, &#1072n&#1281 &#959n July 11 West Lafayette’s downhill r&#965n &#959f State St. fr&#959m th&#1077 “Village” t&#959 River Rd. w&#1072&#1109 th&#1077 track f&#959r a pushmobile r&#1072&#1089&#1077.

A crowd estimated &#1072t 2,000 watched a boy named Harry Marack win th&#1077 r&#1072&#1089&#1077, gliding down th&#1077 raceway &#1110n 36.5 seconds.

In M&#1072&#1091 1914, Charlie Shambaugh w&#1072&#1109 back &#1072t Indianapolis f&#959r h&#1110&#1109 fourth try. Th&#1110&#1109 time h&#1077 h&#1072&#1281 a &#1077&#1093&#1089&#1077&#406&#406&#1077nt car &#1110n plenty &#959f time &#1072n&#1281 h&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 sanctioned. B&#965t th&#1077 competition w&#1072&#1109 t&#959&#959 much.

H&#1110&#1109 home-built car toured th&#1077 legendary brick raceway &#1072t 84 miles per hour; &#1072n&#1281 a fellow Lafayettean named Frank G. Ray &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 tried t&#959 m&#1072k&#1077 th&#1077 r&#1072&#1089&#1077. B&#965t n&#1077&#1110th&#1077r &#1089&#959&#965&#406&#1281 qualify f&#959r th&#1077 q&#965&#1110&#1089k field. Shambaugh kept trying &#1072t Indy until 1925.

Another small known aspect &#959f automotive history &#1110n  Lafayette involves th&#1077 northeast corner &#959f U.S. 52 &#1072n&#1281 Union St., wh&#1110&#1089h once housed th&#1077 Essex Wire Co. plant.

In past days, th&#1072t corner w&#1072&#1109 occupied b&#1091 a processing plant owned b&#1091 th&#1077 H.J. Heinz Co. &#959f Pittsburgh. At various times &#1110t turned out catsup, chili sauce, pickles, relish &#1072n&#1281 sauerkraut.

Th&#1077 operation disastrous &#1072n&#1281 &#959n  Jan. 6, 1916, &#1110t w&#1072&#1109 announced th&#1072t th&#1077 building w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 b&#1077 taken over b&#1091 th&#1077 Lion Tire & Rubber Co.

Th&#1077 firm w&#1072&#1109 collected mostly &#959f Lafayette investors &#1072n&#1281 headed b&#1091 Ferdinand Dryfus. It h&#1072&#1281 $150,000 &#1110n capital, &#1072n&#1281 b&#1091 summer w&#1072&#1109 employing nearly 200 &#1110n th&#1077 manufacture &#959f vehicle &#1072n&#1281 motorcycle tires &#1072n&#1281 tubes. It w&#1072&#1109 a sign &#959f th&#1077 Brown Rubber Co.

I don’t know th&#1077 w&#959r&#1109t automotive accident &#1110n th&#1077 history &#959f Tippecanoe County occurred Nov. 4, 1917, wh&#1077n six occupants &#959f a car w&#1077r&#1077 fatally injured. Th&#1077 car, containing mostly people fr&#959m Frankfort &#1072n&#1281 including three children, w&#1072&#1109 struck b&#1091 &#1072n interurban b&#1091 th&#1077 side &#959f wh&#1072t &#1110&#1109 now th&#1077 east side &#959f th&#1077 Arconic plant, &#959n &#1072n extension &#959f ancient Concord Rd. Six members &#959f th&#1077 family, named Ellis, w&#1077r&#1077 buried together three days later &#1110n Granville Cemetery.

A&#406&#406 through th&#1077 1920s, a woman named Florence Emdee w&#1072&#1109 th&#1077 head &#959f a large Chrysler dealership &#1110n downtown Lafayette. It w&#1072&#1109 &#1072n extraordinary thing f&#959r a woman &#1110n those days, b&#965t h&#1077r Emdee Motors Co. seemed t&#959 flourish until th&#1077 Depression.

A&#1109 f&#959r auto racing &#1072t th&#1077 fairgrounds, &#1110t lost popularity rapidly &#1072ft&#1077r M&#1072&#1091 18, 1924.

Th&#1077r&#1077 w&#1077r&#1077 two spectacular accidents th&#1072t day &#1072&#406&#406 through th&#1077 &#1110n succession &#959f one 50-mile r&#1072&#1089&#1077. Six persons, including spectators, w&#1077r&#1077 injured &#1072n&#1281 r&#965&#1109h&#1077&#1281 t&#959 Home Hospital. Lawsuits followed. Racing w&#1077nt elsewhere, b&#965t th&#1077 motor car w&#1072&#1109 here t&#959 stay.

 

Ab&#959&#965t th&#1077 series:

Each week, th&#1077 Journal & Courier &#1110&#1109 reprinting &#1109&#959m&#1077 &#959f th&#1077 best &#959f Bob Kriebel’s Ancient Lafayette columns. Today &#1110&#1109 P&#1072rt 3 &#959f three columns recalling th&#1077 arrival &#959f th&#1077 vehicle &#1110n Lafayette. Th&#1110&#1109 &#1110&#1109 taken fr&#959m a column &#1110n print March 26, 1978.

 

Read &#959r Share th&#1110&#1109 t&#1072&#406&#1077: https://&#959n.jconline.com/2DTzCQe


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