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First Car

First Car

First car on the streets of Fargo, the Benz Velo. [North Dakota State University Archives, Digital ID: rs001402]

The first automobile to roll down the streets of Fargo was the Benz Velo, built by Karl Benz, co-founder of Mercedes Benz; it was the first model to have four wheels. Karl’s wife was so happy with his first three-wheeled model that, unbeknownst to him, she took it on a 120-mile round-trip promotional tour, accompanied by two sons and serving as her own mechanic.[1]

The “Benz” appeared in a Fargo-Moorhead parade on July 3, 1897. Shortly after, vehicles began to fill the streets of Fargo. In 1903 and 1904 the city council discussed speed limits for motorcycles and automobiles. By 1910 the city council ordered speed limits of 10 miles per hour at intersections. In the same year they hired an automobile and driver to enforce the speed limit on city streets.[2]



[1] http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/benz/innovation

[2]  “City Government.,” Finding Aid, Fargo N.D. Council Meeting Minutes, 1875-1910, IRS-NDSU.

 

Robert Kurtz is a master’s student of History and Graduate Teaching Assistant at North Dakota State University. Robert served four years in the Marine Corps and has  twelve years experience in residential construction. He is currently working on master’s thesis focusing on the material culture of earth homes on the Great Plains.

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