Apr 17 2018

Mystery Foto #15 Solved: A 1908 Long Island Racing Scene at Bethpage’s Deadman’s Curve I

This weekend's Mystery Foto captured a memorable Long Island race at a memorable location.

Answers to the Mystery Foto questions:

  • Identify the location.

Deadman's Curve I in Central Park (later renamed Bethpage). View looking south and slightly west.

  • Identify the race(s), the race cars, drivers and mechanicians.

The two race cars were competing in different races run simultaneously:

#P41 Chadwick with driver William Haupt and mechanician E.A. Lindquist competing in the 1908 Motor Parkway Sweepstakes.

#M36 Rainer driven by Axel Peterson with unknown mechanician competing in the 1908 Meadow Brook Sweepstakes.

  • When was the photo taken? Besides the race being held, what was significant about this date?

October 10, 1908. The official opening day of the Long Island Motor Parkway.

  • Identify the train line in the background. What was the purpose of the train?

As per Ann Albertson: In the background is the Central Railroad Line of the LIRR.  This line was established, not only as a commuter line, but to bring bricks from the brickyard in Old Bethpage to Garden City for the development of that community.

The train appears to be empty of passengers or spectators viewing the race. It was likely used to bring spectators to the grandstand in the Hempstead Plains.

Comments (13)

Congrats to Michael LaBarbera, Tim Ivers, Art Kleiner*, Greg O.*, Ann Albertson*, Dick Gorman*, Steve Lucas*, Sam Berliner III, Brian Sansom, Jim Waechtler*, Frank Mendyk*, and Frank Femenias for identifying one of the Deadman's Curve as the location for the Mystery Foto. * Specified or implied Deadman's Curve I.

Kudos to Tim Ivers, Greg O. Ann Albertson, Dick Gorman, Steve Lucas, Jim Waechtler and Frank Mendyk for correctly identifying the Central Railroad Line.


Howard Kroplick


Femenias 'Findings (Submitted by Frank Femenias)

Then (1908) and Nowish (2013)

Brian's Bonus (Submitted by Brian Sansom)

Location of Deadman'sCurve I and Deadman's Curve II in Bethpage.


Apr 13 2018 Michael LaBarbera 8:50 AM

Dead Man’s Curve in the 1908 race. Central RR line used for shuttle service and bricks and lumber to build Garden City and Levittown. Axel Peterson’s #M36 Rainer battled William Haupt’s #P41 at the Deadman’s Curve.  OK i lifted that from the Deadman’s Curve blog, but it is a cool place to hike and explore and one of my favorite places along the way !

Apr 14 2018 Tim Ivers 3:54 PM

“Deadman’s Curve in Bethpage (the second curve, north of Central Avenue)) in the 1908
Motor Parkway Sweepstakes on October 10th.  The date was to test the new timing systems and crowd control procedures.
The car in front, the M36 Rainier was driven by Axel Peterson
The # 41 behind is a Chadwick driven by William Hauptmann.
The train is on the Central Line and was used to provide spectators with a view of the races.

Apr 14 2018 Art Kleiner 7:31 PM

Identify the location.  First Deadman’s Curve, Central Park Bethpage

Identify the race(s), the race cars, drivers and mechanicians.  1908 Meadowbrook Sweepstakes and the 1908 Motor Parkway Sweepstakes.  The M36 car is a Rainier driven by Alex Peterson in the Meadowbrook Race.  Haven’t gotten the mechanician yet.  The other car is the P41 Chadwick driven by William Haupt, mechanician possibly is E.A. Lindquist. 

When was the photo taken? Oct. 10, 1908.

Besides the race being held, what was significant about this date? 

Identify the train linein the background. What was the purpose of the train?
LIRR, traine stopped to be used as a viewing stand to watch the race.

Apr 15 2018 Richard Krause 7:42 AM

What a great picture!  I suspect this is in Bethpage?  And the train might be the Babylon branch?  As too, the trains purpose?  Well since Autos, were in their infancy? It might have been simply to observe that great race!  This website is nothing short of fabulous!  And since this generation, has grown so non Committed, to todays “cookie cutter” vehicles!  Your doing a great service, by reminding them of how IT ALL GOT STARTED!  My era, was the 1950s , I,m addicted to ww, tires , chrome, and two tone colors!  But all cars Amaze me, And the Black beast, Never fails to greatly interest, all who see it…..Just to hear it run is an adventure!  I have a picture, of a little boy in it, (In Hallockville! )  I suspect that boy, will remember that day , all his life!

Apr 15 2018 Greg O. 10:48 AM

-Identify the location.
Dead Man’s Curve, Bethpage

-Identify the race(s), the race cars, drivers and mechanicians.
Long Island Motor Parkway Sweepstakes-M36 Rainier driven by Axel Peterson. Finished 4th.

-When was the photo taken? Besides the race being held, what was significant about this date?
October 10, 1908- I’ll guess and say it was also the 1908 World Series game between the Cubs and Tigers.

-Identify the train line in the background. What was the purpose of the train?
Central, to bring in spectators and viewing locations.

Apr 15 2018 Ann Albertson 8:08 PM

The above photo is “Deadman’s Curve”, Central Park (Bethpage).  In the background is the Central Railroad Line of the LIRR.  This line was established, not only as a commuter line, but to bring bricks from the brickyard in Old Bethpage to Garden City for the development of that community.

Apr 15 2018 Dick Gorman 8:21 PM

Mystery Foto #15… The location is Deadmans curve in Central Park (now Bethpage). The race shown is the 1908 Motor Parkway Sweepstakes race. The driver of the M36 Rainer racer is Axel Peterson. The #P41 Chadwick car is driven by William Haupt while his mechanician is E.A. Lindquist. The photo was taken on October 10, 1908; the day of the Sweepstakes race, of course. Another important event on this date would be the Model T Ford first offered for sale… OR…the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.The train in the background is on the Central Branch. It was used to bring the public to the races.

Apr 15 2018 Steve Lucas 10:03 PM

We are looking south on the LIMP at “deadman’s curve” in Central Park (now Bethpage), a few hundred feet south of the Central Avenue bridge. Of the several races being run simultaneously, the 41 Chadwick (driver William Haupt, mechanician E. A. Lindquist) was participating in the Motor Parkway Sweepstakes; and the M36 Rainier, driven by Axel Peterson, was competing in the Meadow Brook Sweepstakes. (could not identify his mechanician) The photo was taken on October 10, 1908, which also served as the Grand Opening of the newly completed portion of the LIMP. The train in the background was on the Central Branch of the LIRR and served as a viewing area for spectators to watch the races in addition to bringing them to the grandstand.

Apr 15 2018 S. Berliner, III 11:27 PM

No Mystery Foto at all!  Deadman’s Curve in Central Park (now Bethpage) in 1908, looking SSW.  This was in your 26 Feb 2010 post.  Central RR of LI special train to race.  I’ll leave the race details to Cup freaks - oop - experts.  Sam, III

Apr 16 2018 Jim Waechtler 5:12 AM

I think I’ve seen this photo before. That looks to be Deadman’s Curve in Bethpage where the Motor Parkway turned north. That section was used in the 1908 race. The train would then be on the Central Line - a rail line about 3/4 mile south of the present LIRR in the area, but the tracks no longer exist there. The train was in place as viewing station for the race.

Apr 16 2018 Jim Waechtler 5:18 AM

The Central RR was built by Stewart to carry bricks from the Queens (later Nassau) Brickyard in present-day Old Bethpage for new buildings in Garden City.

Apr 16 2018 Frank Mendyk 1:17 PM

Location - Bethpage ( old Central Park) Dead Man’s Curve looking south (LIMP west bound) towards the LIRR Central Branch
LIMP Motor Parkway Sweepstake races held on October 10, 1908.  1st race held on the newly opened Motor Parkway. This is also the date of the photo.
The train was a LIRR special observation train used as a viewing stand/platform.
The race cars was # 36 a Rainer driven by Axel Peterson and #41 a Chadwick driven by William Hapt

Apr 16 2018 frank femenias 4:08 PM

Oct 10, 1908, on the high-banked Dead Man’s Curve looking south in Bethpage. It’s still there!

The Motor Parkway Sweepstakes, the first race to use the new course, intended to test the layout, timing system, and crowd control for the upcoming 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race two weeks later.

Sweepstakes consisted of five concurrent races of varying lengths and car values; (N)assau (93.8 mi., under $1000.), (J)ericho (140.8 mi., $1000.-$2000.), (M)eadow Brook (211.1 mi., $2001.-$3000.), (G)arden City (187.7 mi., $3001.-$4000.), and (P) Motor Pkwy (234.6 mi., +$4000.). 

Trailing behind in the photo is Motor Pkwy #41, missing the “P” in front of its number, the Chadwick driven by William Haupt, mechanician Lindquist? (finished 5th) 

M36 Rainier driven by Axel Peterson, mechanician ? (finished 4th).

The motionless LIRR train behind supplied additional seating for spectators.

Apr 17 2018 S. Berliner, III 3:11 AM

Sorry, folks, but you’re dead wrong on the Central RR.  A. T. Stewart built it as a competitor of the LIRR; it was later absorbed into the LIRR as the Central Branch.  CRR history at <http://sbiii.com/lirr-crr.html>. The short Bethpage Branch of the CRR, shown on a blueprint map <http://sbiii.com/crrlipix/bethbr16.jpg>, was built later to serve the brickyard, up at the north end of the branch.  The location of the photo is seen at the bottom of my <http://sbiii.com/crrlipix/btwrmap.jpg>.  Sam, III

Apr 18 2018 Frank Mendyk 1:05 PM

Hi Sam, could you please explain what you mean with “you’re dead wrong with the Central RR”.  Several responses stated that the railroad line was the LIRR Central Branch.  Ann and Jim also stated that the branch was used to ship brick from Bethpage. Yes there was a sub branch (Bethpage) that cut off from the main at Bethpage junction.  The main line of the Central Branch then continued to Babylon and to the Babylon village docks.  At Bethpage junction the Bethpage branch line then crossed the LIRR main line by what is now Merrits Rd and continued up Thomas Powell Blvd to the brick works.

Apr 18 2018 S. Berliner, III 11:06 PM

Ye cats and little fishes - I *KNEW* I had more on the brick works, and a map, AND a brick!  See <http://sbiii.com/longis-0.html#nasbrick>.  Sam, III

Apr 19 2018 Jim Waechtler 9:07 PM

Seems Frank has a point.
Central RR of LI was built in sections.

The Bethpage Branch was built to connect to the brickyard just 1 month after the other parts were finished.

By 1908 it may have no longer have connected to Bethpage Junction - which would make it easy to have trains remain stationery on the remaining track near Deadman’s Curve

Apr 19 2018 frank femenias 11:58 PM

Jim- It’s also possible that the train may be in motion and not stationary. Besides the windows looking empty (or window shades drawn) in the mystery photo, there are other photos of races at the same location where a train doesn’t appear at all on the track.

Apr 20 2018 S. Berliner, III 12:27 PM

I missed Frank’s 18 Apr post; sorry I wasn’t specific enough.  The CRRofLI was NOT built in 1871 to carry bricks, although the later 1873 Bethpage Branch was.  Sam, III

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