The 1908 New York to Paris Race story actually begins with the involvement of two famous Roosevelts. President “Teddy” Roosevelt was not about to see German, Italian, and French horseless carriages racing across the US without American entry. He “encouraged” E.R. Thomas to enter the Thomas Flyer, just days before the New York City start on February 12. His cousin Franklin, who later became President learned how to drive in his father’s Thomas while a student at Harvard. It was Monty Roberts (the initial Flyer driver out of NYC) who taught young FDR how to drive his father’s Thomas Flyer the year before the Race. It is at the FDR Mansion in Hyde Park (now a National Historic Site) the 110th Anniversary Celebration begins.
June 19, 2018
Today the teams rolled in from all over the country and received their AAA souvenir bags, complete with travel mugs, trip tiks, and even AAA ponchos (what rain)? Tboughts turned to lunch so it was off to the Beekman Tavern. I wonder what George Washington would have chosen when he ate here, the Turkey Club or Cobb Salad?
Then it was time to head for Hyde Park and the Presidential Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt. When you think of the decisions that were made there during the Great Depression and WWII for a President that served four terms… Having a place like Hyde Park to consider his actions upon which so much depended was an important factor during those troubled times. We came away from the tour with a much better understanding of the man who guided the US throught WWII.
Joining us was Gregg Merksamer, an accomplished automotive photographer with numerous Concours events and published articles particularly in Old Cars Weekly to his credit. After a tour of the estate, NPS Ranger Mike guided our 1930’s vintage vehicles to a point directly in front of the mansion. From there Gregg took over, working his magic in less than perfect light since we couldn’t move the massive stone structure or the sun! The camera phone version is what you see above, as the really professional shots will arrive later.
After dinner, we wondered off to bed, as we knew it was going to be a 5 AM wake-up to hit the road to Buffalo.