Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Downtown in Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Harris Bus

 
 
The Harris Bus Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 16, 2008
1. The Harris Bus Marker
Inscription.  The race to invent a gasoline-powered motor vehicle began in earnest in the 1890's. Most investors started with the modest idea of a two-seater, but William Thomas Harris, an engineer of this city, was more ambitious. He proposed a 15-passenger bus.

In early 1892, Harris took his proposal to William Hollingsworth, a machinist located at 210 Holliday Street and later at this address, who helped him design and build the bus during that winter and spring. In April, Harris applied for a patent, which covered various features of the transmission and steering apparatus. The patent was granted the following April. The bust was powered by a standard twenty-five horsepower Van Duzen engine. The body was built by the Leonhardt Wagon Manufacturing Company of Baltimore and incorporated many stock items of the day - including railway car seats, and lamps typical of firefighting equipment.

A trial run was reported in the June 12, 1892 Baltimore American. What the passengers thought of that momentous ride is unknown. A writer for the Horseless Age later disparaged the bus as "a ponderous, complicated contrivance, a huge leviathan
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
of the roads, which crushed the pavements under its steel tires as it passed over them."

Indeed, Harris' 6,000 lb. car was less successful than other, lighter pioneer vehicles, but it was a first and ambitious attempt at gasoline-propelled public transportation. Harris died on December 29, 1924 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
 
Erected by the City of Baltimore, Chesapeake Region, Antique Automobile Club of America, sponsor, and William Donald Schaefer, mayor.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable EventsRoads & VehiclesScience & Medicine. In addition, it is included in the Maryland, Baltimore City historical markers series list. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1973.
 
Location. 39° 17.517′ N, 76° 36.614′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. It is in Downtown. Marker is on N Holliday Street, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 227 N Holliday St, Baltimore MD 21202, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Municipal Museum of the City of Baltimore (a few steps from this marker); Peale's Baltimore Museum (a few steps from this marker); The Peale Museum (a few steps from this marker); Peale's Baltimore Museum - 1814 (a few
Marker location image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 16, 2008
2. Marker location
The Hollingsworth name remains on the side of the building.
steps from this marker); Zion Lutheran Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Dr. Hiltgunt Margret Zassenhaus (within shouting distance of this marker); Discover Holliday Street: A Stage for Culture, Politics, and Worship (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Baltimore City Fire Department (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
 
The Harris Bus image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, September 27, 2015
3. The Harris Bus
Started February 16th 1892 — Completed June 30 1892
Close-up of photo on marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 16, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,426 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 16, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.   3. submitted on May 10, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr
m=6309

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
This website earns income from purchases you make after using our links to Amazon.com. We appreciate your support.
Paid Advertisement
Apr. 24, 2024