In July, we were honored to induct C.R. and Frederick Patterson into the Automotive Hall of Fame. This father and son team were the owners of the only known Black automobile manufacturer in North America. On November 16, 2021, AHF Principal Historian Brian Baker and Alumni Relations Specialist Nick Gargaro visited Greenfield, Ohio, the Patterson’s home town. They spent the day with Tom Smith, who has been collecting and restoring Patterson artifacts for more than 30 years, and Harold Shultz, past president of the Greenfield Historical Society. The group visited historical locations and examined Patterson artifacts, including six buggies. One of these, the only known Patterson mail carrier buggy, still shows its U.S. Postal service markings and the patented Patterson whip control and rein slots remain intact.
The team also visited the Patterson family graves and the Ohio historical marker showing the location of the former Patterson factory. In this building, the Patterson’s pioneering mixed-race workforce assembled buggies beginning in 1850 and switched to motorized cars and buses in 1917. With the help of supporters like Tom Smith and Harold Shultz, the Automotive Hall of Fame will continue our research on the Pattersons and other Black contributors to the evolution of mobility.