Aug 12 2019

Mystery Foto #32 Solved: Willie K. Going for an Early Ride in his 1899 Locomobile Runabout

The Audrain Automobile Museum challenged you to solve this weekend's Mystery Foto.

Answers to the Mystery Foto questions:

  • Who is the driver of the automobile?

​William K. Vanderbilt, Jr.

  • Identify the year and make of the automobile

​1899 Locomobile Runabout. This steam-powered was built from designs by the Stanley Brothers and built in Watertown, Massachusetts.

  • Where exactly was this photo taken? Who owned the building and what was the owner's link to the driver?

​The Belcourt of Newport mansion was and is currently located on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. The summer cottage was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt for Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont. At the time the Mystery Foto was taken (1899-1904), Belmont was Willie K.'s step-father. He married  Willie K.'s mother Alva Vanderbilt on January 11, 1896.

Comments (2)

Kudos to Art Kleiner and Dick Gorman for combining to almost solving the Mystery Foto.


Howard Kroplick

 .Willie K and Birdie Vanderbilt at the 1899 Newport Parade in a Locomobile. This photo is hanging in Alva Vanderbilt Belmont's Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island, courtesy of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

1899-1904 Locomobile Runabout

Belcourt of Newport. Note: The rectangular design matching the Mystery Foto.


Aug 11 2019 Art Kleiner 6:04 AM

Let’s say Willie K.
circa 1900, will let others id the car
Since the museum is in Newport, how about one of the Vanderbilt’s mansions there - Marble Head?

Aug 12 2019 Dick Gorman 9:53 AM

Mystery Foto # 32… The automobile shown is a 1900 Locomobile Runabout. Steam powered, of course.
Later Locomobile would make I.C. engine powered cars, as we all know.
I don’t have answers to the other questions. My research struck out on those topics.

Aug 13 2019 Brian D McCarthy 9:30 AM

Maybe his 1st of many autos, he’s 21 yrs old here.

Aug 13 2019 frank femenias 6:01 PM

That red 1899 Loco Steamer is in immaculate condition for a 120 year old car. Fantastic!

Aug 14 2019 Al Velocci 1:24 PM

Howard, In the Belcourt photo… on the right side, are those sections of a marble column lying on their sides? And if they are, any idea if they still exist, possibly erected. Al.

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