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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Harris Bus

 
 
The Harris Bus Marker image. Click for full size.
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 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
Marker location image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 16, 2008
2. Marker location
The Hollingsworth name remains on the side of the building.
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.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Maryland, Baltimore City historical markers marker series.
 
Location. 39° 17.517′ N, 76° 36.614′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. 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.
 
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 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
The Harris Bus image. Click for full size.
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
(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.
 
Categories. Notable EventsRoads & VehiclesScience & Medicine
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 16, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,227 times since then and 28 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.
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