1902-1909

1902

March 4, nine auto clubs meet in Chicago to form the American Automobile Association. Those clubs and their founding dates are: Chicago Automobile Club, 1900; Automobile Club of America, 1899; Automobile Club of New Jersey, 1900; Long Island Automobile Club, 1900; Rhode Island Automobile Club, 1900; Philadelphia Automobile Club, 1900; Princeton University Automobile Club, 1901; Automobile Club of Utica, 1901; and Grand Rapids Automobile Club, 1902.

Membership totaled approximately 1,500. Adopts resolution on Dec. 9 favoring the Brownlow-Latimer Bill, which calls for the appropriation of federal funds for the improvement of national highways.

Opens its first headquarters office, which is shared with Automobile Club of America at 753 Fifth Ave. in New York City.

About this time

U.S. auto registrations total 23,000. On Aug. 22, Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. president to ride in an automobile. Enrico Caruso makes his first gramophone recording.

1903

Supports the Good Roads Bill, federal legislation establishing the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (now the Department of Transportation). It isn’t until 13 years later that President Woodrow Wilson signs the AAA-sponsored Federal Aid Highway Act, including portions of what was formerly the Good Roads Bill, which required the federal government to appropriate funds for building and improving roads.

About this time

The first transcontinental automobile trip starts in San Francisco on June 18 and arrives in New York City on Aug. 31. On Dec. 17, Orville Wright makes the first successful flight in an airplane at Kitty Hawk, N.C. Henry Ford organizes Ford Motor Co.

1904

Becomes involved in automobile racing when the Vanderbilt Cup Race is the first race held under the auspices of the AAA Racing Board.

About this time

The New York City subway opens.

1905

Publishes its first map, a street map of Staten Island, N.Y., which is hand-drawn in ink on linen.

Conducts first contest for the Charles Glidden Touring Trophy from New York City to Bretton Woods, N.H., and back. These tours encourage manufacturers to produce less troublesome vehicles. The Glidden Tour continues for eight years as an annual AAA-sponsored event and demonstrates the reliability of the automobile as basic transportation through long-distance competition.

Enters into its first reciprocal agreement with a foreign auto club, the Touring Club of France. AAA’s agreements with foreign auto clubs continue to provide AAA members with some benefits while traveling abroad. Foreign travelers to the U.S. also receive some benefits of their country’s auto club membership from AAA.

About this time

In Daytona Beach, Fla., a Napier becomes the first automobile to exceed 100 miles per hour.

1906

Adopts its first official emblem — three capital A’s inside interlocking wheels.

Enters into a contract with Blue Book Publishing Co., publishers of the official Automobile Blue Books.

About this time

The San Francisco earthquake and three-day fire leave hundreds dead or missing.

1907

Authors a Uniform State Motor Vehicle Bill that provides for the registration, identification and regulation of motor vehicles driven on public roads and highways.

About this time

Bureau of Touring Information begins supplying up-to-date information on roads, hotels, garages and motor vehicle laws.

1908

Co-sponsors the first National Good Roads Convention, the start of AAA’s Good Roads Movement, which plays an important part in the growth of the nation’s highway system. Other sponsors include National Grange and American Road Makers Association.

Joins with the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers. NAAM bails AAA out of financial difficulties.

About this time

The first production Model T Ford was assembled in Detroit.

1909

Membership totals approximately 10,000.

Creates American Motorist, a monthly magazine featuring travel articles, maps, road reports, hotel and garage listings, state motoring laws and club news.

Sets up European Touring Bureau in Paris to meet the needs of members traveling in Europe.

About this time

American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson reach the North Pole.

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