The small community of Greenvale is centered around the bustling intersection of Glen Cove Road and Northern Boulevard and is known for its fine shopping at the Wheatley Plaza. Almost lost in history is the role of Greenvale in the 1905 and 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Races.
Belcher-Hyde Map 1906
Before the Civil War, Greenvale went by the name of Bull's Head for the hotel/tavern that was a favorite of cattle traders heading to New York City. The hotel and its "auto & wagon shed" were located on the northeast corner of the present-day intersection of Glen Cove Road and the Flushing and North Hempstead Turnpike (now Northern Boulevard).
Then: 1905 Bulls Head Hotel and Auto & Wagon Shed
The proprietor of Bulls Head Hotel was Aloysius Huwer who had moved his family from Brooklyn to live and work in the country. As seen in this photo, a real bull was kept south of North Hempstead Turnpike across from the hotel. Ironically, this is the current location of Ben's Deli !
Then: 1905 Headquarters for the White Steamer
Bulls Head was the headquarters for racing teams for both the 1905 and 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Races. In 2005, Fred Blumlein, great-grandson of Aloysius 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. Aloysius 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.
Update: As submitted by Hugh Nutting, the car in front of the Bull's Head Auto Shed was a 1904 White Model D Steamer.
Then: October 14, 1905 during Vanderbilt Cup Race
The corner at Bulls Head was part of both the 1905 and 1906 courses and a favorite spectator location. Fred Blumlein described the action:
“CAR COMING” shouted the flagman in an effort to get the crowd off of North Hempstead Turnpike when he spotted Vincenzo Lancia rocketing westward in his Fiat racer towards the hairpin turn at Bulls Head Corner. Lancia’s engine screamed as he downshifted into the turn, dirt billowed into the air, his on-board mechanic leaned mightily to the left to maintain balance, and the crowd cheered as Lancia gunned his machine, straightened his wheel, and sped off south on Glen Cove Road to cross the Mineola-finish line in 4th place.
It was Saturday, October 14, 1905 and this was the second Vanderbilt Cup Race, staged by William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., to take place on Long Island. In those days, Northern Boulevard was known as North Hempstead Turnpike and Lancia, that young dare-devil driver, still has his name imprinted on one of the most desired automobiles in the world (another driver in that race was the memorable Louis Chevrolet). The route of the 1905 race also tracked along I.U. Willets Road (West), Lakeville Road (South), Jericho Turnpike (East), and Rt. 106 North; a 28.3 mile circuit driven in ten laps. These contests were the first international-road races to be held in America and were key in establishing the automobile as a fixture in American culture.
The northeast corner of Glen Cove Road and North Hempstead Turnpike was seen in this 1936 photo courtesy of the Bryant Library Historical Collection. Officer Harry LaRue was directing traffic in the "North Roslyn" intersection. The Bulls Head Hotel had been apparently replaced by a Socony gas station.
But, take a closer look at the building behind the gas station. It is the Bulls Head Hotel turned 180 degrees!
Fred Blumlein confirmed to me that indeed the hotel had been moved and turned around to make room for the gas station. Note: The distinctive patio roof of the hotel was now located in the "rear" of the building.
One hundred years after the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race, the Bulls Head Hotel was very worn down but still standing!
As described by Fred Blumlein below, the property was sold to developers in 2005 and torn down for a new building.
Then & Now: March 2011
Then: 1936 (Note: The building on the far left behind the gas station.)
Fred, thanks for the information on your family and the 2005 photos of Bulls Head Hotel.
Links to related posts on VanderbiltCupRaces.com and the Internet: