1909 Glidden Tour Start

This image appeared in the July 16, 1909 Indianapolis News and captures the ceremonial launch of 1909 Glidden Tour. The car pictured was called "the chairman's car" of Frank B. Hower, the chairman of the American Automobile Association (AAA) contest board. Among those in the car with Hower, who created the Hower Trophy, were Alfred Reeves, an official of the American Motor Car Manufacturers Association and Charles J. Glidden - the founder of the event and the donator of the trophy. The driver was Ray McNamara who was at the wheel of a  Premier Motor Car Manufacturing Company machine that served as an official vehicle. AAA President L.R. Speare, seen in front of the car, fired the starting gun.
Another image of this machine can be found elsewhere on First Super Speedway. Also, "The Making of Modern Michigan" Web site has an amazing collection of over 1,700 photos of the 1909 Glidden Tour.
The lengthy caption that was published in support of this image appears below:
"Adding to the unbounded enthusiasm in connection with the starting of the Glidden Tour from Detroit, was the presentation of an American flag to Chairman Hower of the tour committee which will be carried on the official car for the balance of the trip. Mrs. H.H. Hower of Cleveland, a niece of Chairman Hower, and a bride of a few weeks, presented the blag with wishes for a successful journey. The band played the "Star-Spangled Banner," the thousands of spectators and the contestants doffed their hats and sang and as a climax Mr. Hower placed a resounding kiss on the lips of the pretty girl from Cleveland. There were wild hurrahs at this act. President Speare, of the A.A.A., fired the starting gun and when Ray McNamara opened the throttle of the big six-cylinder Premier it seemed to leap forward as though eager for the fray. The rhythmic sound of its motor added to the music of the occasion, the Stars and Striped flutter in the breeze and the car began its long journey. In the official car beside Frank B. Hower were Charles J. Glidden, the donor of the classic trophy, and Alfred Reeves of the A.M.C.M.A., a member of the committee. Nothing approaching the enthusiasm or the perfection of arrangement by the Detroit people has ever before been encountered in the competition for the prize which is emblematic of America's championship among touring automobiles."

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