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Friday, October 24, 2014

A Gathering of Old Cars 2014 Recap

If you are a lover of antique cars and live in the Hudson Valley, it is a good bet that you were at Staatsburgh last Sunday.  The Great Lawn between the mansion and the Hudson River was filled with hundreds of cars and there were thousands of visitors who attended the event.  Inside the mansion we were happy to welcome many new visitors from the car show who stopped by the gift shop and toured the house.

I was able to walk through the lawn and see so many of the great cars on display.  The car show brings back great memories from my childhood because my father restored a 1939 Chevy Coupe and we took it to countless car shows over the years.  I have seen firsthand how owners of antique cars have poured their blood, sweat, and tears (and money) into restoring and maintaining these cars.  After all of that effort, they are especially proud to show them off and converse with other car owners.  It takes a lot of effort to make an 80+ year old car look good and even more to make sure it runs properly!  As I wandered through the rows of car, I took a moment to talk to a few folks who brought a car to the show...

Diane and Wayne Ashton from Staatsburg, NY brought their 1921 Ford Model T to the car show.  The Ford Model T was produced from 1908 until 1927 by Henry Ford's Motor Company.  It was one of the most influential cars in American history because it was the first affordable car for the middle class.  Ford's moderately priced automobiles afforded a whole new class of Americans the ability to travel.  The assembly line and interchangeable parts allowed Ford to manufacture a record number of cars at a lower cost.  If the Ashtons had purchased this car in 1921, they would have paid $325!  This is only the second  year they have brought this car to the show, but it is the fifth antique car that they have owned!  Wayne built this Model T himself by collecting parts from all over the country.  For example, the body was from Iowa and the back section was from Virginia.  He worked hard to assemble the car and make sure it was in running order.  If you live in Staatsburg or Hyde Park, you may see them driving around town!

Diane and Wayne Ashton of Staatsburg, NY 

Sparky Ferris of Poughkeepsie, NY brought his 1940 Ford Coupe to the show.  By the 1940's, the shape and driving ability of Ford cars had changed dramatically since the 1920's.  Mr. Ferris has owned this car for 19 years and brought it to just about every Staatsburgh car show since he purchased the car.  During his ownership, he has kept up the maintenance of the car and made sure it got a new paint job.  It is especially important for him to keep the car running well because he loves to drive it long distances.  This car has traveled from Poughkeepie all the way to Atlanta and Kansas!  With the cold and windy weather at the car show, Mr. Ferris was ready to jump in his car and drive it down to Florida!

Sparky Ferris of Poughkeepsie, NY 

We had an exciting first this year!  In addition to all of the cars, we had a tank!  The World War I era tank in the picture below was on loan from the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.  The 2014 season has ended, but during the summer and early fall, this tank runs every weekend at the Aerodrome.  In addition, every weekend from June through September, the aerodrome has airshows that feature World War I era planes.  The Aerodrome is about 30 minutes north of Staatsburgh and is definitely worth the trip!  The tank will be with us for another week so if you missed the car show and want to take a look, it is located just to the north of the mansion.  The park grounds are open from dawn until dusk.

Aerodrome interpreter Marion Love was on hand dressed as a motorcycle dispatch rider from the Women's Emergency Corps.  Her clothing was designed to emulate Evelina Haverfield who founded the corps and was very involved in Britain's women's suffrage movement.  During World War I, many women entered the workforce to fill the gap left by the men who had left to fight in the war.  These new freedoms inspired many woman to work to gain the vote by joining the women's suffrage movement.

Marion Love from the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome 

Every car has a story and these are just a few that I encountered while I was roaming the grounds.  It was a nice change of pace to move outside the mansion in order to walk the historic grounds, admire the cars, and talk to visitors.  A big thanks goes out to everyone who volunteered to make the event a success and everyone who attended.  We look forward to next year's event!


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