Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 106-107 Creator
Smith, Kay, 1925- Institution
Bloomfield Township Public Library Subject
Automobile racing -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township Subject
Detroit Automobile Club Subject
Pine Lake Country Club (Michigan Item Number
part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith Type
text, image Format
THE CENTURY AUTO RACE AND
THE FIRST AUTOMOBILE CLUB
On a June Sunday afternoon in 1906, the farmers of
Bloomfield were treated to an amazing sight. Over the
placid hills came roaring, coughing, purring and snorting
an array of horseless carriages. Through the dirt roads they
careened, frightening the horses, thrilling the children,
heralding the new life.
The autos and their costumed drivers had come from the
first Detroit Automobile Club, forerunner of The Automobile
Club of Michigan, at Pine Lake. They were engaged in a
race to Detroit and back from the clubhouse, a serious
affair with prizes to anyone who could complete the
journey in one day.
The Club was founded June 23, 1902, just three years after
Colonel Jacob Astor had formed the Automobile Club of
America. Its purpose was to interest people in the
automobile, and it succeeded upon the genius of its
members. At the time of the race depicted here, the
members included Russel A. Alger, Jr., Henry B. Joy,
Dexter E. Ferry, Henry Ford, John F. Dodge, Horace E.
Dodge, James Couzens, Horace H. Rackham, N. A.
Hawkins, R. Hupp, E. LeRoy Pelletier and Colonel Edwin
Colonel George suggested the club move to a more
appropriate country setting and donated some land around
Pine Lake. There, in 1905, the clubhouse was built which
is today Pine Lake Country Club. A race was organized,
with a prize for anyone who could make the round trip
between Pine Lake and Detroit in one day. This race was
run three consecutive years, 1906, 1907, and 1908.
From a trophy at Pine Lake we chose the first race, 1906, as
the subject of our illustration. Three Packards came in first,
followed by a Peerless, a White and a Welch. Later races
featured such exotic cars as a Pungs Finch, a Wayne, a
Mitchell, a Thomas '24 and an Oakland as well as an Olds,
Cadillac and Ford.