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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Adirondack Autoist: 1909

Adirondack Autoist: 1909

Lake Placid, New York, circa 1909. "Whiteface Mountain and Wilmington High Falls Road, Adirondack Mountains." 8x10 glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Lake Placid Highway

This photo sort of looks like the area where this young man was back in 1909 with his Franklin, and the roads haven't changed much as you can see.

Franklin Automobiles

Franklins were made in Syracuse. They were supposedly pretty reliable. Still quite a few of the barrel-nosed Model D's around.

My granddad

My mom's family had a 1930 Franklin, and my granddad used to get a big charge out of telling the gas station attendant to check the water in the radiator. He'd struggle and twist, but he couldn't get the hood ornament off. Because the Franklin was air cooled! Very funny, Grandpa.

The Summer of '64

The last time I drove down this highway from Lake Placid to Wilmington was in the summer of 1964 (good grief, that was 47 years ago!), and the scenic view hadn't changed much then, since 1909 with the exception of a couple of roadside motels. I'm wondering how it looks today.


I wonder if any Shorpyite can provide a picture of what this scene looks like today? Has a modern highway and other encroachments from man altered the foreground significantly?


Now I understand why we call them "high beams" and "low beams"!

Call the Police!

That hoodlum just stole the leather couch and loveseat set from the house up the road, and is now making his speedy getaway!

The Machine!

Oooh, it's the Machine from Gone-Away Lake!!

Great picture

Looks like a Franklin Model D.

The Franklin Difference

Franklin motors were air cooled. Like an old Volkswagen flat-4 or a Harley-Davidson V-Twin. Or your lawn mower, for that matter. The cylindrical engine quarters no doubt aided airflow past the motor.

Not too far from home

since Franklins were built in Syracuse. About 195 miles from Syracuse to Lake Placid today, probably a bit more back then.

Any color you want

A Model D Touring, $2850 as shown. This fellow didn't go for the optional extension top for an extra $120. At this time Franklin offered all eight of its models in any color the customer wanted, as long as it was Royal Blue.

This guy had guts!

Imagine driving the Adirondacks in one of those early autos! One can think twice in a modern car; and by the way your cell phone probably won't work.

Rolling Along

Nice video of the Franklin cars here.

Perfect place for a picnic or for changing a flat

The odds that any farmhouse near this area would have a newfangled telephone mandated that this driver be prepared to change a flat and deal with a temperamental carburetor or finicky spark coil ignition system. Dirty or stale gasoline, and wet conditions played havoc with the fuel and spark systems of these early Grand Dames of the road.


Just a man and his Franklin on the road to high adventure. Jack Armstrong at the wheel!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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