In 1908 Henry Ford introduced the Model T, a low-priced highly capable automobile, that with fifteen million produced over its nineteen-year production run, put America on wheels. Historians have written about how Henry Ford conceived of and produced the Model T, as well as its history at the national level, but what did the Model T mean for Raleigh, North Carolina? In the 1910s, Raleigh was a small city (with a population rising to 24,000 in 1920) in the agrarian Jim Crow South. In the Spring of 2019, students in Dr. Ross Bassett’s History 491: Senior Seminar course at North Carolina State University took advantage of a database listing every licensed car owner in the city in 1919, a rich set of primary sources, and powerful digital tools, to tell the story of the automobile in Raleigh in the age of the Model T.
Figure: "Looking south from the top of Fayetteville Street at Capitol Square c. early 1917" PhC.68.103 From the Carolina Power and Light Photograph Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.