Mar 10 2014

Mystery Foto #58 Solved: The White Steamer at Bulls Head Corner in Greenvale in 1905

This week's Mystery Foto featured the only steam-powered car to race in the Vanderbilt Cup Races.

Mystery Foto questions:

-Identify the race car, its manufacturer and its driver. Why is the the car unique?

The White Steamer manufactured by the White Sewing Machine Company driving by Walter White (right) and his mechanician John Hantack (left). The car was the non-gas powered car to race in the Vanderbilt Cup Races.


-Identify the location of the photo and the building in the background.

The corner of Northern Boulevard and Glen Cove Road in Greenvale.  The car is heading south down Glen Cove Road.

Aloyous Huwer's Bulls Head Hotel was seen in the background, the headquarters for the White team.


-What is the likely date of the photo?

September 16, 1905-October 13, 1905. The White Steamer was practicing for either the 1905 American Elimination Trial (September 23, 1905) or the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race (October 14, 1905)


-Bonus question: Name one of the persons standing in the background!

According to Fred Blumlein, great grandson of Aloyous Huwer,  the Huwer family were standing on the hotel's porch in this photo.


Congrats to  Steve Lucas, Tim Ivers, Art Kleiner, Greg O. Frank Femenias, and Ariejan Bos who identified the White Steamer and Bulls Head Hotel. Kudos to Greg O. and Frank Femenias for answering the bonus question as the Huwer family in the background. Special mention to Ted for identifying the White Steamer. Ted is on a Mystery Foto roll!


Howard Kroplick

Bulls Head was the headquarters for racing teams for both the 1905 and 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Races. In 2005, Fred Blumlein, great-grandson of Aloyous Huwer, wrote:

Greenvale’s Bulls Head Hotel, located smack-dab on the corner of that tough turn, played an important role in the 1905 race. Aloyous Huwer, proprietor of the hotel (and the writer’s great-grandfather), rented his “Auto & Wagon Shed,” to race driver and car owner, Walter White. White and his mechanics bunked in the Hotel and used Huwer’s Shed to ready his steam-driven racer for the event. White’s machine was the only steam racer ever to be driven in the Vanderbilt Cup Races. He received an “A” for trying, but had to abandon his car in the fifth lap because of engine and tire troubles. During the 1906 race, the Bulls Head Hotel and Shed became the base camp for the Pope-Toledo car group. They were the last race team to use the site during the races.

The Huwer family.

The White Steamer

The White Steamer on Glen Cove Road in front of Clarence Mackay's Harbor Hill Estate in Roslyn, now East Hills.

The White Steamer was stored in the Bulls Head Hotel's Auto & Wagon Shed.

The White team in front of the shed. Wlater White is third from the left.

1905 American Elimination Trial

Despite finishing seventh in the American Trial, the steamer was selected as one of the five American cars to  participate in the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race

The Steamer finished 13th. Tire and engine problems during Lap 5 when race was called.

In front of Willie K's Deepdale Estate in Lake Success. Note the front left tire is off.

1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Then: 1906

The Pope Toledo team at Bulls Head Hotel

Then & Now: Northern Boulevard and Glen Cove Road in Greenvale

Then: 1890s:

Prior to being owned by Aloyous Huwer, the hotel was owned by Adam Heiss.

Then: 1905

Then: 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Then: 1936

Now: 2013

Then: May 1986

Greenvale's Old Bull's Head
Published New York Times: May 11, 1986

To the Editor:

I would like to clear up the mystery concerning the fate of the Bull's Head Hotel in Greenvale, L.I. The fire mentioned in the your article on April 20 occurred in 1923. It consumed an icehouse and a barn on the hotel's property, but did not touch the hotel itself.

Also destroyed in the barn were several limousines belonging to a Roslyn millionaire, Clarence Mackay.

A few years later, my great grandfather, Aloyous Huwer, the last operator of the hotel, sold the property. The hotel was then moved from its original site on the corner of Northern Boulevard and Glen Cove Road to its present position on Northern Boulevard 200 feet east of its original site. Its large surrounding porch was removed and a brick storefront was added.

Over the last 50 years, this grand old building has housed a pharmacy, grocery stores and many other shops. Today, while it is still occupied by retail merchants, a major section of the building has fallen into disrepair. This is sad because this structure is a true landmark.

One can hope that this forgotten piece of history will be restored and again take its place as the historic symbol of Greenvale. FREDERICK J. BLUMLEIN

Port Washington, L.I.

Then: 1905


This "Then & Now" is one of the twelve featured in my new book North Hempstead.

Now: 2013


As mentioned by Tim Ivers and Greg O.,ironically, the above bull was standing  at the location of Ben's Deli.

New York Times, October 12, 1905

Art Kleiner forwarded this 1905 New York Times article where foreign drivers were complaining about the White Steamer.


Mar 07 2014 Steve Lucas 9:41 PM

The car is the White Steamer, the only non-gasoline powered car to run in any of the Vanderbilt Cup Races. Driving the racer is Walter White. He is heading south on Glen Cove Rd. (Guinea Woods Rd) with the intersection of Northern Blvd in the background. The building behind the car is the Bulls Head Hotel, the 1905 White headquarters. Judging by the lack of spectators, I’m guessing the photo was taken a day or two before the Elimination Trial of 9/23/1905 during a practice run. In the background is probably one of Walter’s brothers Rollin or Windsor or maybe their father, Thomas H. White. The proprietor of the hotel, Aloysius Huwer, might also be there.

Mar 08 2014 Ted 12:40 AM

I think I have it. The car is a White. It was manufactured by White Sewing Machine Company. The driver is Walter White. The unique thing about it is that it’s the only (non gasoline) steam engine in the Vanderbilt Cup Race. I’ll be back

Mar 08 2014 Tim Ivers 9:19 AM

1905 at the turn in front of the Bulls Head Inn on Glen Cove Road, Greenvale.
Driver is Walter White. “Ben” is in background standing in front of his “deli”.
The vehicle, a White Steamer, was the only non-gasoline entry ever to race in the Vanderbilt Cup races. Lost a tire at Guinea Wood Road.

Mar 08 2014 Art Kleiner 10:40 AM

White Steamer, driven by Walter White in the 1905 Race.  Unique in that it was the only non-gasoline racer in the Cup races.  Date would be Oct. 1905.  Location of photo is corner of Glen Cove Road and Flushing/North Hempstead Turnpike (Northern Blvd. now), Greenvale.  Building is the Bull’s Head Hotel and one person in the picture may be its proprietor, Aloysius Huwer.  The hotel served as the headquarters for the White racing team in 1905 with its garage housing the racer.

Mar 08 2014 Greg O 11:08 AM

-Identify the race car, its manufacturer and its driver. Why is the the car unique?

#19 White Steamer- the only non-gasoline powered sewing machine to enter the V.C.R. Driven by Walter White -no relation to ‘Breaking Bad’. smile

-Identify the location of the photo and the building in the background.

Glen Cove Road turn in front of the Bulls Head Inn (White garage HQ) -stopping in to get a corned beef and pastrami at Ben’s.

-What is the likely date of the photo?

Sept 23, 1905 during the American Elimination Trial

-Bonus question: Name one of the persons standing in the background!

Must be proprietor Aloysius Huwer from the Bulls Head Inn

Howard, While we’re on the subject of steam vehicles, in one of Jay Leno’s videos about his Stanley Steamer, he states that it is a Vanderbilt Cup racer. As far as I have read, the White was the only steamer to enter any of the races.
My question is; Did Stanley ever prepare a vehicle for the 1906 V.C.R. that never ended up running in the race?

Here’s his video for reference;

Greg, two Stanley Steamers were hoping to participate in the 1906 American Elimination Trial. But they never made it:


Mar 08 2014 Ted 6:39 PM

I have something else. The car was in two races, the American Elimination and the Vanderbilt Cup with Walter White and John Hantack, which is a correction from yesterday. I’m not sure about the location yet. I’ll be back

Mar 09 2014 Alan Clendenen 1:40 PM

I don’t know the location, but the car is Whistling Billy, a White Steamer that was very fast and controversial, in the 1905 race.  It was driven by Walter White, one of the 4 sons of Thomas White that started the White Sewing Machine Co.  The White was out with a broken drive shaft on the second lap.

Mar 09 2014 frank femenias 10:42 PM

Sep 23 – Oct 14, 1905.
40hp White Steamer #19 (chocolate cake car).
White Sewing Machine Co. (trucks, bicycles, roller skates, phonographs…)
Driver: Walter White (founder’s son).
Mechanician: Hantak.
Finished 13th of 19 racers (lap 5 engine trouble, lost tire in Westbury).
Non-gasoline racer to ever run in the Cup races.
N/NE at Bull’s Head Inn Corner (White Steamer headquarters in Greenvale).
Northern Blvd/Glen Cove Rd. (North Hemp Tpke/Back Rd.).
Heading south on Back Road.
Mr. And Mrs. Aloysius Huwer (owners).
In the mood for chocolate cake!

Mar 10 2014 Ted 1:17 AM

Can’t seem to figure out which race that building was in, so that means I can’t give the date either, but I can say it was in 1905. Now for the bonus, that’s very difficult, you can’t see the people, even zoomed in at 400%

Mar 10 2014 Joe Oesterle 2:43 PM

Bull Run Inn, corner of Old Northern Blvd and Glen Cove Road.
Not sure about the rest.

Mar 10 2014 Ariejan Bos 4:26 PM

This is the White steamer driven by Walter C. White with mechanician John Hantack during the Elimination Trial for the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup as well as during the main event itself. This would be the first and the last time that a steam racer would compete in a Vanderbilt Cup race. As the car is still numberless and the crew is not wearing a racing outfit, the date could be 22 September, the day before the trials. Possibly they are out for a test drive.
The car is photographed leaving from Bulls Head Hotel in Greenvale, where White had its headquarters. Between the spectators undoubtedly the owner of the Hotel, mr. Huwer, and possibly White’s financier, Clarence McKay.
I didn’t notice before that the car has an underslung chassis. Is this the first car having this? It certainly predates the American!

Mar 10 2014 Greg O. 9:07 PM

Such an obvious answer that I’m embarrassed that I was so lazy and didn’t look up the Stanley question on your site myself like I normally do!

Interesting stuff! Thanks Howard!

Mar 10 2014 Ted 11:15 PM

Thanks Howard. I was on the roll with this one, but just didn’t know which answer would be the right, so I had to mention something, so you would know what I was thinking about answering

Mar 12 2014 Ted 1:37 AM

I hope I can continue being on the roll with these. I’ve been on the website more often and learning a lot more and still it won’t be enough. I’ll see you on Friday, even if it’s going to be same, there’s always something that you’re informed about that you didn’t know and you never know what you might throw in, just to make it a little more interesting, right? See you then.

Mar 18 2014 Tom 1:06 PM

My favorite pic is the one with the Socony filling station.  Are you sure it’s from 1936?  The cars make it more like 1932 or ‘33.  But than again, it could be older cars at the time the photo was taken.

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