PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CLARK COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Photo: HANDOUT
Photo: HANDOUT

The Heritage Center: When a ‘horseless carriage’ burned down a garage

Over 130 years ago in 1886, Dr. Linus Russell, a Springfield surgeon, and mechanic, Henry Voll, drove Russell’s newly-patented, steam-driven “horseless carriage” out of the Voll’s barn machine shop.

According to newspaper, ladies fainted, the children cheered, and the men exclaimed “this will never go,” as the engine belched black smoke as it rolled down the street at 25-miles an hour. 

Upon returning to the barn, sparks from the fire box burned down the barn and the wooden frame, leaving only the boiler, which is on display at the Heritage Center.

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