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A Very Early Packard Romance


It is not very often that we see an early photo of the founder of a famous car company behind the wheel of one of his creations. It is even more uncommon to see one on his honeymoon. James Ward Packard married Elizabeth Gilmer on Aug. 31, 1904 in Warren, Ohio. Our photo purports to show the bow-tied Ward and elaborately hatted Bess at Panama Rocks near Chautauqua Lake in New York on their wedding trip. The Packard in which they made the voyage is showing evidence of the primitive road conditions they encountered.

The following year, they would begin construction of an elaborate 32 room mansion in the lakeside village of Lakewood, New York. It would not be completed until 1912. A three car garage was added in 1914 and in a second floor machine shop, Packard would pursue his mechanical and electrical interests. He became a legal resident of Lakewood after 1913, was active in village life and a generous benefactor to the community. You can take a closer look at a beautifully restored Model “L” here and see many more Packards here from the Rod Blood collection. Today’s photo courtesy of the New York Historical Society.

5 responses to “A Very Early Packard Romance

  1. It may be 1904, but mr. Packard is already driving the 1905 model N. It was the second model with a honeycomb radiator (after the 1904 model L), but the first one with the characteristic inward pointing dents on the radiator shell.

  2. This is a 1904 Model L. The scallops on the radiator were a running change during Model L production, but the 1905 Model N had side doors for access to the rear seat. The Model L was a rear entrance tonneau.

  3. Ariejan and Tim: One thought I had from the beginning was that, being as the car photographed in August could this have been a prototype or test car for the 1905 model? If so maybe it has features of both?

  4. I am the manager of Panama Rocks where this picture was taken. We just shared this post on our Facebook page.

    Thanks for sharing!

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