Dec 30 2019

Mystery Foto #52 Solved: Willie K. at the Ormond Hotel during the 1904 Ormond-Daytona Beach Races

In the final Mystery Foto of the decade, did you find Willie K.?

Mystery Friday questions:

  • Where is William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. in the Mystery Foto?

​Willie K. is the front row to the left of the trophies.

  • Identify the building in the background and where it was located?

​The Ormond Hotel at Ormond Beach, Florida.

  • Why were all these people at this location?

​The visitors and officials in the photo were at the Ormond Hotel for the 1904 Ormond-Daytona Beach Automobile Tournament.  For the event, William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. purchased a giant 90-hp Mercedes, among the most powerful cars in the world. On January 27, 1904, he set the one-mile land speed record on the beach going 92.3 mph, surpassing the record established earlier in the month by Henry Ford.

  • Approximately what date was the Mystery Photo taken?

The tournament was held from January 28, 1904 to February 1, 1904.

  • Kudos question: Identify other people in the Mystery Foto

Future Vanderbilt Cup Race commissioner James L. Breese was standing  next to Willie K.

Comments (4)

Congrats to Sam Berliner III for identifying one possible Willie K. in the Mystery Foto and Bob for identifying Ormand as one of the possible locations.

Learn more about Willie K. in a special presentation by Dr. Steve Gittelman at the Bryant Library in Roslyn on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.


Howard Kroplick


Ormond Hotel, Ormond Beach, Florida

1904 Burr McIntosh

William K. Vanderbilt, Jr.

Willie K. is standing front and center

Willie K. at the 1904 Ormond Daytona Automobile Races


Dec 29 2019 S. Berliner, III 1:29 AM

Willie was short so he might be either of the two fellows up front with their hands in their pockets.  Sure looks like the old Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs.  Others?  Well, one of the two WASN’T Willie!  :ยท)  Sam, III

Dec 29 2019 Richard Sloan 9:54 AM

Smack in the middle, seated.

Dec 29 2019 Rich 10:02 AM

I have no idea.  But the wheelchairs in the left side of the photo (and possibly another on the right side, although partially obstructed) suggest the building may be a convalescent home or hospital.

Dec 30 2019 bob 12:00 PM

Savanna GA 1910? US Grand Prize , or 1911? Or Ormond FL? Willie K was the honorary referee at an earler 1908 event in Savanna . No idea where he is , not really a Willie K spotter

Dec 30 2019 Dick Gorman 9:05 PM

Mystery Foto #52… Isn’t that Willie K almost dead center just left of the white column? He has his hands in his pockets and wearing a motoring cap.
CanT answer the rest of this one,


Howard Kroplick

That’s him!

Dec 31 2019 Joseph Freeman 10:52 AM

Nice Photos of Willie K. who was obviously a mover and a shaker.
However, let’s not forget Bostonian Herbert Bowden, who beat everyone in 1904 with his huge (overweight) twin-engine Mercedes “Flying Dutchman”. Another important Bostonian in those days was William “Billy” Wallace, who was s friend of my Grand-mother on Nantucket. Billy backed Louis Chevrolet, who drove Wallace’s big F.I.A.T. in the Vanderbilt Cup races.

Dec 31 2019 S. Berliner, III 2:10 PM

The Hotel Ormond was built in 1887, opened in 1888, was bought by Flagler in 1890, and greatly expanded, becoming one of the largest wooden structures in the world, and only demolished in 1992.  The property stretched from the Halifax River (the Intracoastal Waterway) to the Atlantic.  All that remains is the cupola, on the other side in your photo (see attached), now the centerpiece of Fortunato Park, across the street from the hotel site.  Now, whatever might that spoked-wheel contrivance at far right be?  Doesn’t look quite right for just a bicycle.  Sam, III

image image image

Leave a Comment