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Maine 1Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine

Mount Desert Island, Maine, This past week while chasing down an estate lead down east, Maine, this writer stopped by Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island to photograph locations first made popular by the artists of the Hudson River School and in general to play tourist. Painter Frederic Church came in 1850, 1852 and 1859 while Sanford Gifford came here in 1864. I was fortunate to have as a tour guide the President of a local museum, who fast tracked the search to see where Church and Gifford painted. The best roads to take if one is pressed for time is the Park Loop Road on the south east side to see Otter Creek, and the drive up Cadillac Mountain, appropriately enough named Cadillac Summit Road.

Maine 2Frederic Church (1826-1900) Otter Creek, 1850

Maine 3Otter Creek, 2014

While there mother nature cooperated and this writer was able to observe similar spectacular atmospheric circumstances that inspired Church and Gifford 150 plus years ago.

Maine 4Frederic Church (1826-1900), Sunset from Eagle Lake and Cadillac Mountain 

Maine 5Sunset from Cadillac Mountain, 2014

Maine 6Sanford Gifford (1823-1880), Artist Sketching from Mount Desert, 1864

Maine 7View of Otter Creek from Cadillac Mountain, 2014

Another stop the next day was the Seal Cove Auto Museum, founded by the lateRichard Cushing Paine (1928-2007), it opened in 1968. The current President of the museum, Thomas Alley, kindly functioned as my tour guide the previous day. The museum's consists of the “Brass Era automobiles” from the late 19th century to the outbreak of World War One. Obvious items in the collection are early Fords but also included of note are extraordinarily rare examples by Peugeot, Stanley, and Whites. Museum Director of Curatorial Affairs Roberto Rodriguez stepped in for Mr. Alley to provide greater details on the past ownership of the vehicles and how they wound up at this institution.

Maine 81910 Stoddard Dayton with a monocle windshield

1910 Stoddard Dayton with a monocle windshield. Many of these early vehicles were not only race cars, but some here in the museum set land speed records.

Maine 91904 Cadillac

1904 Cadillac, an early luxury car built by Henry Leland. Born in Vermont, Leland was originally a gun smith at Colt Firearms who later founded not only Cadillac but Lincoln as well. This vehicle because of its early date has been invited to drive in the annual London to Brighton road race of vintage cars.

Maine 101904 Stanley Steamer

1904 Stanley Steamer, made by Stanley Motor Carriage Company, Newton, MA. This vehicle was nicknamed the Flying Teapot for the steam plume it generated

Maine 111908 Stanley Steamer

1908 Stanley Steamer, a street version of the 1906 model which set the landscape record. Much to the dismay of internal combustion engine enthusiasts steam encountered less horsepower restrictions at optimum output and while not the most practical of engines, in the right circumstances they always went faster.

Maine 121911 Stanley Steamer

1911 Stanley Steamer, A stunning vehicle yet never built in the numbers like the Ford Model T to make it viable. The company fell further into decline when F.E. Stanley died in 1918

Maine 131905 Pierce Arrow

1905 Pierce Arrow. An elegant limousine style coach this won the first Glidden Trophy for reliability in a race from New York City to Bretton Woods, NH in 1905

Maine 141906 Ford Model N

1906 Ford Model N. The last right hand drive car designed by Henry Ford, the chauffeur was intended to be on the right to open up the passengers’ door and safe guard them from mud and other elements. When American cars became available through economies of scale to the middle class, the requirements of a chauffeur quickly became outmoded.

Maine 151908 Ford Model K

1908 Ford Model K, this was Alexander Malcolmson’s brain child, and despite the great quality that went into this six cylinder hand made engine, this high end vehicle was a commercial failure, indeed the Model K’s lack of success hardened Henry Ford’s desire to make the simpler Model T for the common man, with the left hand drive an exclamation point that it was not to be a chauffeured vehicle for the idle rich. Ford used the failure of this car as a way to reorganize Ford Motor Company to where he muscled out Malcolmson to achieve full control. Thus the whirlpool Henry Ford's son Edsel would encounter when he wanted to enter the luxury car market. Edsel would remain firmly ensconced in his father's dog house most of his life.

Maine 161913 Peugeot

1913 Peugeot. A stunning car that resembles the fictitious Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, it is regarded as one of the rarest and most important cars of the Seal Cove Auto Museum collection.

Maine 171910 White Steamer

1910 White Steamer. More advanced than the Stanleys in its’ engine it also had more than one gear. Recently car collector Jay Leno, the former host of NBC”s tonight show, and noted car collector, dropped a dime to call the museum and ask if the White Steamer was for sale. The museum declined, but told Mr. Leno he was always welcome to visit. Mr. Leno’s mechanic was said to have made the trip instead.

Maine 181921 Mercer Roadster

1921 Mercer Roadster, technically not a brass age car, but emblematic of the museums mission to preserve early racing type vehicles.

The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm from May through October

Maine 19

Maine 20Thomas and Sherrie Alley of the Seal Cove Auto Museum

About the Author

Robert Alexander Boyle

Robert Alexander Boyle

 Alexander Boyle is a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, CT where he majored in History. Prior to graduation he co-authored the seminal book Acid Rain in 1983. Alex has worked for the Metropo...