Charles Shambaugh

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2 Sep 1877
Montmorenci, Indiana


04 Jun 1940
Lafayette, Indiana


United States

Indy 500s:

0 (1912-1926)

A mechanic, Shambaugh owned a dealership and workshop in Lafayette, Indiana. He was also a carriage builder and a pioneer of the automobile in the area. He was involved in numerous other projects, including cranes, trucking, construction and airport businesses, becoming the founder of Lafayette Airport, which he built up from the spare land on his field, bought in 1928. Born on a farm, he learnt how to run a thresher for his father at a young age, before the family moved to Lafayette, where he lived most of his adult life. He worked for an iron foundry, learning how to repair engines, boilers and pulleys, amongst other items,before joining the Lafayette Engineering Company that designed and built iron bridges. Charlie became the foreman there before designing and building a gasoline engine that could pump water. Shambaugh then opened Lafayette's first car repair garage and dealership in 1903 and this grew and grew. He was still involved in the industry at death, by being involved with Packard. Shambaugh died when he was walking along beside a moving tractor driven by a farmhand ploughing on the old airport site. Shambaugh reached in to the engine to try to adjust a governor. He slipped in the mud and fell under a wheel. The tractor driver, looking back at the plough, did not see Shambaugh fall. Charlie was taken to hospital, where he passed away.

Biography last updated 20 Jul 2017