Memphis in Macomb County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Thomas Clegg (1863-1939) and his English-born father, John, built “The Thing,” the first recorded self-propelled vehicle in Michigan (and perhaps the country) in 1884-85. The Thing, driven by a single cylinder steam engine with a tubular boiler carried in the rear, seated four. The vehicle was built in the John Clegg & Son machine shop here in Memphis. It ran about 500 miles before Clegg dismantled it and sold the engine to a creamery. The shop was razed in 1936, just a short time before Henry Ford offered to buy it for Greenfield Village.
Erected 1981 by Michigan History Division, Department of State. (Marker Number L824.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Michigan Historical Commission series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1884.
Location. 42° 53.795′ N, 82° 45.848′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Michigan, in Macomb County. Marker is on Bordman Road, 0.2 miles east of Cedar Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Memphis MI 48041, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within Wales Township Hall (approx. 5.3 miles away); Sanford Stone / Weller House (approx. 5.7 miles away); Richmond Center for the Performing Arts (approx. 5.8 miles away); John Donley Farm (approx. 5.8 miles away); Steam Engines--A Brief History (approx. 5.8 miles away); Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish / John F. Farrell (approx. 6.7 miles away); Walter C. Wetzel State Recreation Area (approx. 11.2 miles away); Capac's Early Railroad Depots/The Fourth Capac Depot (approx. 11.6 miles away).
More about this marker. No nearby parking access. Difficult to see the marker because of trees and other vegetation.
Also see . . . Expectations Dashed - The Thing. Michigan Wines and Signs website entry (Submitted on July 25, 2020, by John Garman of Rochester Hills.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 6, 2022. It was originally submitted on June 13, 2019, by John Garman of Rochester Hills. This page has been viewed 217 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on June 13, 2019, by John Garman of Rochester Hills. 2. submitted on August 17, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.