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this day in history 1908

Jacob Murdock becomes first man to drive across the US by car

And There Weren’t Even Little Chefs Back Then

Driving coast to coast across America has been the dream of many lazy, layabout students on a gap-year who should really go and get a job instead or at least join some branch of the armed forces and do something more positive with their lives. But back in the sepia days, one man and his family had a similar dream. Jacob Murdock decided he wanted to drive from Los Angeles to New York City and, on this day in 1908, in his Packard Thirty touring car, he hit the road.

Except, of course, there weren’t many roads to hit. There were no highways joining city to city and not even that many paved roads. Which may explain why the 3693 mile journey took a decent 32 days, 5 hours, 25 minutes. Though, in fairness, Jacob and his God-fearing family did take Sundays off. Despite the time taken and the inherent difficulties of the journey, the Murdock clan were the first to drive across the country by this method and became celebrities as a result.

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