Thursday, May 14, 2009

Inside the National Museum of American History - Part 3

This is a Hansom Cab from about 1900. Most hansom cabs were public vehicles available for hire but this one was owned by a Washington DC family. They used it into the 1920's.

This is a Woman's Overman Victoria Safety Bicycle, 1889. Cycling quickly became a popular way to get around the city, and on weekends many bike enthusiasts went for rides in the country. In the 1890's bicyclists played a major role in lobbying for road improvements.
I enjoyed all the sculptures depicting people from the day. This lady was sitting on a bench and I found out that she depicts Charlotte Hawkins Brown (June 11, 1883 to January 11th, 1961), who was an American author and educator.

Her biography reads: Born Charlotte Eugenia Hawkins in Henderson, North Carolina, in the late 1880s her family moved north to settle in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An exceptional student in a very white world, during her senior year of high school, Alice Freeman Palmer, a former Wellesley College president, provided financial support to enable her to further her education at the State Normal School in Salem.

In 1901 Charlotte Hawkins accepted a teaching position in a one-room school in the rural community of Sedalia, North Carolina. In 1911 she married fellow teacher Edward S. Brown, but the marriage did not last.

Her dedication to educating young African Americans led to the tiny school evolving to become an accredited school and junior college, junior renamed the Palmer Memorial Institute in honor of her benefactor. In 1915, the prominent Boston financier and philanthropist Galen L. Stone learned of her work and became the Institute's most important benefactor.
Charlotte Hawkins Brown devoted her life to the improvement of the African American community's social standing and was active in the National Council of Negro Women.
Among her numerous institutional efforts, she served on the national board of the Young Women's Christian Association, the first black woman to do so.

In 1952 Brown retired as president of Palmer Memorial Institute. She died at Greensboro, North Carolina in 1961 from heart problems, aged 77.

This electric streetcar is from 1898. Used by the Capital Traction Company, this streetcar ran along warves at Potomac River to Boundary Street (now known as Florida Avenue), which at the time was the edge of the city of Washington. Washington banned overhead wires, so streetcars used an underground electrical conduit within the city and an aboveground wire outside the city limits.

Motorman and Conductor of a Capital Traction Company streetcar. In Washington, two men operated a streetcar. In 1900 the nation's streetcar men worked an average of 12-1/2 hours a day.

Passengers wait to board streetcars at 11th and F Streets, N.W., about 1915.

One of the exhibits mirrored a very famous road trip. Before Horatio Nelson Jackson and his mechanic Sewall Crocker embarked on a trip well over 100 years ago, no one had driven an automobile across the United States. The pair left San Francisco on May 23, 1903 on a U.S. $50 bet that a car could handle a cross-country drive, and despite the fact that there were no gas stations at the time and less than 150 miles (240 kilometers) of paved roads between coasts.
On the supply list for the long-distance journey were sleeping bags, pistols, ammunition, and rubber mackintoshes used as rain gear. To make room for their luggage, Jackson and Crocker disassembled their 1903 Winton's cloth roof. Averaging four miles (six kilometers) per hour, their drive was more like a cross-country road trip by tractor. They stopped at general stores for gas.

Bud, a bulldog, accompanied the drivers and was featured in many news photos.
On July 26, however, the Winton reached New York.
It must have been a very bumpy ride to go where only horses had gone before.
When these new-fangled automobiles ran into difficulties and many would get stuck in the mud, people would yell, "go get a horse to pull you out."
This is the last exhibit we looked at that day. One of those interesting sculptures seated on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, 1942.

Below shows a Greyhound Silversides Bus (1947) and a Hot Rod which was driven by Elivis Presley in the 1957 movie, "Loving You ".
An old Greyhound advertisement.


  1. I would love to visit this place. Your post is the next best thing to being there. Thank you so much for sharing this Denise.

  2. These are fantastic photos! Thank you for posting this, Denise. These photos are absolutely awesome and very interesting. I haven't been to D.C. in decades and now you're making me want to go.

  3. Liz Koehler-PentacoffMay 15, 2009 at 1:05 PM

    Thanks for posting these great pictures of Horatio Jackson and Bud! These guys are my passion. Do you know about Jackson and Bud's Bumpy Ride? See the trailer at
    Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff

  4. Tricia and Kay, when ever you get to DC we'd be happy to show you around.

    Liz, thank you so much for the link. I enjoyed the trailer very, very much. I shall keep an eye out for Jackson and Bud's Bumpy Ride.