Side A: The factory of the C. R. Patterson & Sons Company once stood near here at 138 N. Washington Street. Established in the mid-nineteenth century by the black businessman Charles Richard (C. R.) Patterson and his white partner, J. P. Lowe, the business, originally known as J. P. Lowe & Company, became a successful carriage firm. Patterson became the sole owner in 1893 and changed the name to C. R. Patterson & Sons. After succeeding his father as owner, C. R.’s son, Frederick, became the first known African-American automobile manufacturer. Under his leadership, the company transitioned from building carriages to automobiles, then to trucks and buses to keep up with the changing demands of the transportation industry. (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) Frederick had achieved success in other areas as well. He was the first black student to attend Greenfield High School. At Ohio State University, Frederick broke the school color barrier for sports in 1891 when he played on the football team. He was also voted president of the class of 1893. Frederick was instrumental in the development of the Negro Business League, serving as a vice-president under Booker T. Washington for several years. In 1924, he became the first black delegate to represent Ohio at the Republican National Convention. The Patterson Company passed through three generations of the family. In 1939, a series of factors, including the Great Depression, finally caused them to lock the factory doors, closing their unique chapter in history.