Oct 09 2017

Mystery Foto #40 Solved: A Willys-Overland Whippet in Front of Rockville Centre’s Carnegie Library

Alene Scoblete, librarian and archivist for the Rockville Centre Public Library, challenged you again to solve a Mystery Foto.

Mystery Foto questions:

  • Identify the year, manufacturer and model of the automobile

The Mystery Foto auto could have easily been built by several manufacturers: Willys-Overland, Jewett, a Chandler or Paige Brougham.

The expert team of Dick Gorman and Greg O. favor a 1927/1928 Willys-Overland Whippet Model 96.

  • Identify the Rockville Centre building. What year was it built?

This building was the first permanent public library in Rockville Centre. It was built in 1912 after a 1903 gift offer of $10,000 from Andrew Carnegie. Overall, Carnegie gave away $60 million to fund 1,689 public libraries thoughout the Unitied States.

The Clinton Avenue property for the library was donated by John Lyon. It was the primary Rockville Centre libary from 1912 to 1962. The building is still standing as an office building at 11 Clinton Avenue.

Comments (7)

Congrats to Dick Gorman, Greg O., Art Kleiner (see below Kleiner's Korner), Dave King and Sam Berliner III who correctly identified the first Rockville Centre Public Library. 

Kudos to Dick Gorman and Greg O. for suggesting the Willys-Overland Whippet as the potential Mystery Foto auto.


Howard Kroplick


Possible Automobile Identification

1927/1928 Willys Overland Whippet Model 96

1925 Jewett Four-Door Sedan

1922-1926 Chandler

1926 Paige Brougham

Kleiner's Korner (Submitted by Art Kleiner)

History of Rockvile Centre by Marilyn Nunes Devlin

 The property of John Lyon.  E. Belcher-Hyde map (1906)

The location of the public library. E. Belcher-Hyde map (1914)

Brooklyn Daily Eagle July 7, 1911

Brooklyn Daily Eagle April 28, 1912

The building today at 11 Clinton Avenue.


Oct 06 2017 Dick Gorman 1:57 PM

Mystery Foto #40… The auto in the photo is a 1928 Willys Overland 96 Knight or at least I want to believe that it is. All cars really did look alike back then. It could easily be a Jewett, a Chandler, a Paige Broughham, a Whippet.
The building is the fourth home of the Rockville Centre library built in 1912.

Oct 07 2017 Greg O. 11:37 AM

The Rockville Centre library, built in 1912, seen in the 1930’s.

The car looks like it could be a 1927 Willys-Overland Whippet Model 96

Oct 07 2017 Art Kleiner 9:15 PM

Will let others figure out the car, but year is circa 1930.

The building is the Clinton Avenue Library in Rockville Center.  Built in 1912 and existed until 1962.  The donor was Andrew Carnegie who gave $10,000 for the library (one of many donations he made for libraries to be built) on property given by John Lyon.  The building is at 11 Clinton Avenue, near the intersection with Front Street, near the RC LIRR station. Today it is an office building, housing numerous lawyers.

Oct 08 2017 Dave King 2:46 AM

The building is the old Rockville Centre Public Library on Clinton Ave. built with a Carnegie grant in 1903 / 1904.

Oct 08 2017 Alene Scoblete 2:28 PM

The building on Clinton Ave. in Rockville Centre was built in 1912 to be the first permanent home of the library. The land was donated by John Lyon, RVC’s first Village President. I just need information about the car. Thanks!

Oct 08 2017 S. Berliner, III 3:57 PM

Here we go again with ill-formed guesses.  I vaguely recall that being the old Public Library about a block north of the tracks on the east aside of a north-south street like North Centre or North Village Avenues.  The car, ca. 1924, clearly has six wheels - four driving, one spare, and one steering.  :ยท)  Sam, III

Oct 09 2017 mel 8:36 AM

  Ihe building is the original RVC library. I believe it was used as such until the present library was built around 1962

Oct 09 2017 frank femenias 11:37 PM

Could not locate this structure anywhere, old or recent. This was a good mystery. Sam III nailed it based on memory. Fantastic! Five stars!!!!!

Oct 10 2017 Dave Russo 12:20 PM

Wow. I was not aware of Carnegie’s charity. That is impressive. Almost 1700 libraries. Pretty amazing.

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