60 years of Classic and Antique Auto rallies at Stowe

by GREEN MOUNTAIN BYWAY

Submitted by Barbara Baraw, Stowe Historical Society, 27 June 2017

Our tour of the history of the automobile in Vermont begins on the GREEN MOUNTAIN BYWAY- Main Street Waterbury.  Mr. Warren, whose home and carriage barn are part of the State of VT building complex, obtained the first two VT auto registrations 1905. Probably slightly better known was Dr. H. Nelson Jackson of Burlington who, with Sewell Crocker, drove from San Francisco to New York City in 45 days- completing the first transcontinental auto trip.  We mustn’t forget Henry Leland of Barton who created the standardize auto parts, without which mass production and the nearly 265,000 passenger vehicles in the USA at the end of 2015.  In 1903 the “Automobile Club of Vermont”, at the Pavilion Hotel of Montpelier, was founded, and fifty years later the “Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts” was organized.  It took but four years for Stowe to host its first antique car rally, which it has for the past 59 years.

Hesterly Fearons Buckley of Stowe recalls there were seven cars in the first meet. Her brother had recently sold one of his touring cars to a local hotelier and the parade for bragging rights began.  Each year it grew and the gathering place changed over time.  For a while it was at “Little Spruce” parking lot (currently the plaza at Spruce Village).  When that was outgrown, the meet was at Top Notch Field on RT 108, and then it moved to its current site –Nichol’s Field.

Thirty- two classes of autos and trucks and military vehicles aged 25 to 80 and older will be involved.  Beginning Friday morning when the food stand opens at 7:00 AM until Sunday afternoon there will be a corral, flea market and food concession. Highlights of Saturday are the fashion show, the Hot Wheels racing, The Parade through Moscow, Mountain Road past the reviewing stand in the village and back to the Field.  Saturday evening, on Main Street is an old fashioned “Street Dance.”  On Sunday the judging begins 9:00 with awards early afternoon.

In 2018 the Antique and Classic Car Rally moves to Farr Field on US RT 2 west, Waterbury.  Visible from the Interstate, it will be a great draw to get off the Highway and explore the by-way. It seems nostalgic and appropriate that 113 years after the issuance of the first auto registration that the ever – growing Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts annual “Antique and Classic Car Meet” move to Waterbury.