Centennial of the
Stanley World Speed Record
Ormond Beach


More than 6,000 people lined the beach on a cool and windy Thursday, January 26, 2006 to celebrate and attend a historic re-enactment of the world land speed record.  Averaging 127.659 mph from two runs on the beach, Fred Marriott set a land speed record for the automobile on January 26, 1906.  To celebrate the accomplishment which would stand for four years, the descendents of F.E. Stanley and Fred Marriott drove a replica of the Stanley Rocket Racer on Ormond Beach.  The Stanley World Land Speed Record is considered by many racing fans to be the most famous world land speed record in history and is the basis for Ormond Beach being called "the birthplace of speed". 

Below are photos highlighting other places those attending the celebration enjoyed.  Tours to St Augustine, Ponce Inlet, and Daytona Beach were part of the 4-day celebration which saw over 50 Stanley owners and cars participate.  For additional photos of the beach celebration please visit the event's website at ~



The main Celebration activity was held on Ormond Beach 100 years to the day when the Stanley's originally set the world speed record.  The highlight was the running of numerous Stanleys down the beach in celebration of the land speed record.  Pictured is Sarah Stanley Davidson driving a replica Rocket down the beach.  During the banquet Sarah described the driving of the car as a unique experience in the way the Stanley handled, the beach sand felt, etc. 

It was touch and go as to if they would allow the Stanleys on Ormond Beach.  The 2005 hurricane season had devastated the beach and the sand was no longer hard packed and only suitable for driving in select areas.  Additionally the beach was now very narrow and not the several hundred feet wide as in the past.  While I didn't take my Stanley onto the beach, pictured is Tom Marshall driving his 1908 Model K down the beach with Bill Rule as passenger and Bill Schwoebel in the "mother-in-law" seat at the rear.  Approximately half the Stanleys attending the event made the run down the beach at a leisurely 15 MPH.
Photo Courtesy of Tom Cannard
Built between 1871 and 1874, St Augustine lighthouse is one of the oldest in the country.  It is constructed of brick from Alabama, granite from Georgia, and iron from Phoenix Steel in Philadelphia.  It was designed by Paul Pelz, who also designed the Library of Congress.  In 1876, a brick light keeper’s house was added.  The light keeper's house was were oil and supplies for the lighthouse were stored.  A larger structure was built in 1876 to house the three light keepers and their families.  Light keepers’ and their assistants lived and worked there until the tower was automated in 1955.
St Augustine lighthouse towers 165 feet above sea level and it takes 219 steps to climb the spiral staircase to the observation deck at the top.  Every lighthouse has a different paint scheme on the tower to identify it and St Augustine's is a black and white spiral.

At night, the primary duties of the keeper involved maintaining the light no matter what the weather. In the early years, the light keeper carried thirty pounds of hot lard oil (pig fat) up 224 steps (there are 5 steps from the lard storage room to the steel spiral staircase) to the light. The keeper placed the lard oil in the oil reservoir, opened the protective curtains around the lens, trimmed the wicks, and lit the light at sunset. The keeper on duty also had to crank a 275-pound weight for the clockworks system. This system was in the center shaft of the tower and it rotated the lens before electricity.  This ritual had to be performed hourly throughout the night!

The lens that forms the beacon is a first order Fresnel lens and consists of 370 hand-cut glass prisms arranged in a beehive shape towering twelve feet tall and six feet in diameter. The light was originally made up of four concentric wicks with lard oil (pig fat) being used for fuel. The nightmark for the light was a three-minute fixed flash provided by a clock mechanism which rotated the lens.  In 1885, the fuel changed to kerosene.  In 1936 the kerosene light source was electrified and the mechanical clock replaced with an electric motor giving the station a 30-second flash rate.  The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary now maintains the light once a week.  The lighthouse remains an active aid to navigation under the US Coast Guard.

Another lighthouse visited was Ponce Inlet Lighthouse at Ponce de Leon Inlet.  This lighthouse was constructed in 1887 and towers 175 feet above the sea level.  Using a first-order Fresnel lens and kerosene as the light's fuel, the light beacon can be seen for 20 miles.  It takes 194 steps (23 from ground level) to climb the lighthouse's steel spiral staircase and the walls at the base are over 8-feet thick.  The tower is constructed of an estimated 1.25 million bricks.
Photo Courtesy of Tom Cannard
As an avid NASCAR fan the opportunity to visit Daytona International Speedway wasn't to be passed up.  Visiting Daytona USA was fascinating and the tour of the track was a highlight.  The TV cameras of the two races every year don't do justice to just how steep the banking is on the track.  In fact this photo looking towards turn 3 only hints at the 31-degree steepness of the banking. 
This shot looking over the retaining wall and directly down on the track makes the track appear narrow.  In reality the paved surface from the white wall to the yellow line is 40 feet in length.  From the yellow line to the top of the photo is actually the flat apron around the inside of the track.
Part of the tour included a visit to Victory Lane.
Jeff Gordon won the Daytona 500 in February 2005 making him a 3-time winner of the race.  Every 500 winner has their car disassembled for technical inspection and then reassembled and placed in Daytona USA for a year.  The car is as it left Victory Lane.
Sitting outside Daytona USA was the Official Pace Car for the 2006 Daytona 500.  Jay Leno would drive this car to start the race.
Another activity was a visit to Raabe Racing.  As part of one of the day's tours those driving Stanleys parked them outside while the tour as conducted.
Photo Courtesy of Tom Cannard
Tom Marshall attended the event with his 1908 Model K and 1910 Model 71 to the event.  Pictured on the Model K is Marshall Steam Team member Bill Schwoebel driving and Bill Rule in the passenger seat.
Photo Courtesy of Tom Cannard
Participation in the event was recognized by the plague at the right.  Attendees with steam cars also received a canvas bucket (for draining water from the boiler during start-up) with event the logo and a jacket with the event logo.

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