Red Flag Horseless Carriage Tour ready to roll this week
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
A flyer announcing the Red Flag Horseless Carriage tour this week (Sept. 25-28) asks participants and interested parties to “join us in celebrating the beginning.”
Although the event is still in its infancy, the beginning was last year and the cars will rumble through the area countryside for the second year beginning Thursday.
Jeff Krug, president of the tour board of directors, said that this year’s car count (approximately 15 vehicles) is similar to last year.
However, he is hoping that an amendment to the rules and regulations nets some local cars. “Last year, we had no local cars. This year, we are having a registration for ‘Saturday only’ hoping to attract come local cars. We know there are local cars out there, we saw them at Old Threshers,’” Krug noted.
Saturday is also the most significant day of the event with the official tour run from New London to Brighton and then back to Mt. Pleasant.
Henry County’s tour is modeled after a tour in England in the early 1900s, celebrating the change in a law.
In November 1896, British motoring changed with the passage of the “Locomotives on the Highway Act.”
The new law increased the speed limit for “light locomotives” from four miles-per-hour to 14 miles-per-hour. It also abolished the requirement that the carriage be preceded by a person on foot with a red flag.
A symbolic red flag was burned and to celebrate, an event was established to show the automobile was here to stay — a tour of horseless carriages from London to Brighton, England.
Two classes of vehicles will be featured in the Henry County tour version — vehicles 1908 or earlier and any one- and two-cylinder steam and/or electric vehicles and motorcycles up to and including 1915.
The second class will be any four-cylinder 1927 and earlier steam/electric/motorcycle from 1916-1927.
Cars will begin arriving in Mt. Pleasant Wednesday for a driver’s reception that evening. On Thursday, the vehicles will leave the Comfort Inn and Suites and travel to New London to tour the Dover Museum and the former Pilot Grove train depot. From there, it is to Geode State Park for lunch and back to Mt. Pleasant via Salem and a tour of the Lewelling Museum.
Friday’s events begin with a tour of the Harlan-Lincoln House in Mt. Pleasant, and then to Trenton and Mt. Union. The day’s events end at the Midwest Old Threshers grounds for a tour of the museums (tractor and theater).
Vehicles will leave both Thursday and Friday mornings at 9 a.m. from Comfort Inn and Suites. The public can view the cars before 9 a.m. each morning at the motel.
Saturday — the final day of the event — begins at 8 a.m. in New London for a short program and the burning of the red flag. Cars then make the “official red flag tour” to Brighton. They will enter Mt. Pleasant on Winfield Avenue to Grand Avenue. The tour will continue on Mapleleaf Drive and Broad Street before exiting on Courtland Avenue.
Following Saturday lunch at Brighton, the tour will proceed back to Mt. Pleasant, stopping at Wayland en route. Krug said he expects the vehicles to be back in Mt. Pleasant around 4 p.m.
Krug said while the event schedule is similar to last year, it also has its differences. “This year, we will not be going to Winfield, Olds or Swedesburg. We just want to change it up some every year. We still will make every attempt to go past the nursing homes in every community.”
Judging from the comments he received from participants last year, Krug said the tour was very successful. “One of the really neat things was all the people sitting along the route and waving. We just hope to get more cars for them to see this year.”
A little over half the cars, Krug said, are returning this year and he has more entries in the Signature than second-generation class. The Signature class is for any vehicle, gas or steam powered, up to a 1915 model year. The second generation includes cars ranging in age up to 1927.
Several new sponsors have joined the sponsor list for the tour which pleases the board president.
Cars wishing to participate in the Saturday-only tour are asked to be at the New London park by 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Anyone having questions or wanting information on the tour can either visit the website www.redflagmotortour.com or call 319-329-7220.