My related essay on the Baker electric car is here: Technology
of Baker Electric Car
My related essay on technology of Owen Magnetic car is here: Technology of Owen Magnetic car with Entz electromagnetic transmission
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Closeup hi-res photos
Wells related links
Wells Museum 80 car collection
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport ME
I had no association with the recently closed Wells Antique Auto Museum, but as a tribute to it and its founder Glen Gould I am posting some pictures that I took at the museum in 2010 and 2011. The sign outside said 80 cars all tightly packed into a small non-descript building on rt 1 in Wells Me. My pictures are just a sampling of its quirky, wonderful collection of vintage cars, many of which were from the earliest days of motor cars, so-called 'brass era cars', cars which Glen Gould had rescued in rural NE and restored. My aim in taking the pictures and selecting which to post is largely picture quality. Model identification comes from a combination of signage in the photos, other Wells sites, and vintage car image searches.
I had been to the Well Museum several times over the years while vacationing in ME but was disappointed when in 2014 on yet another planned visit I arrived and found it permanently closed. I knew it had been there a long time, since late 70s according to the auto museum's history. The man who assembled the collection was Glen Gould. He was a salesman who traveled all around rural NE and was always on the look out for old cars to acquire and restore. A visit to the museum was not just to see the cars, but to play its many antique music players scattered among the cars. (I said this place was quirky.) I got the impression that at least some of the staff was volunteers. I doubt this 'easy to miss' museum with its small parking lot brought in much money, so with the passing of its founder and less interest in the collection in later generations of the family, it may have been worth more to break up than keep intact. (One tidbit I came across showing the value of the Wells collection is that the bid price at auction for its 1941 Chrysler Town and Country was 250k!) It's too bad it has closed because it was a fun way to spend some time while on vacation in ME, and unlike many other auto museums in northern NE, this one was conveniently located, on the highway between the popular vacation areas of Kenneybunkport and Ogunquit on the southern ME coast.
Below are thumbnails of the cars and music players and further below a bunch hi-res closeups. With the exception of the outside view of the museum all these pictures were taken by me a few years ago with my wonderful Cannon S70 camera. The museum sign below says "80 cars", so clearly these photos cover only a small fraction of the collection.
Outside view of the Wells Antique Auto Museum
All 80 cars of the Wells Auto Museum collection were jammed into this small non-descript building in Wells, ME
Photo credit: capture from Google Earth (while museum was still open)
International Hi-Wheeler 1908
Buick Touring 1909
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Maxwell 1909 Pierce Arrow 1909 .
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Pierce Arrow 1918 Baker Electric 1908 .
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Baker Electric 1908 White Steamer 1907 Stanley Steamer 1907-1909 .
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Stanley Steamer 1907-1909.
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Ford Truck 1911 Buick Truck 1911 Pathfinder Roadster 1912 Chrysler Airflow 1934 LaGonda 1935 .
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Cheverlet Convertible 1936 Lincoln Zephr 1937 LaSalle 1940 Chrysler Town and Country 1941 Chrysler 300 1955 .
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Abandoned Wells Auto Museum web site
An of this writing, the old Wells Auto Museum web site still is online [http://wellsautomuseum.com/collection.htm], but clearly it has been abandoned, because it does not even mention that the museum has been closed and some pages are gone. It does, however, contain a list of the collection (below) and a bio of the founder, but no pictures of the cars.
Wells Auto Museum History (from its old site)The oldest car at the Well Museum was a 1900 (or 1901) Crestmobile. I am including it even though the picture quality is poor, since it had to be photographed through a window with a lot of reflections. However, the photo does show how small a gasoline engine for a car can be. Its one cylinder motor is the small vertical cylinder in the front of the car.
"In 1946 Glen and Judith Gould were given a Stanley Steamer that was found in the Vermont barn cellar of an Uncle. Finally, after hours of backbreaking restoration work Glen was able to fire up the old car. Hearing the Stanley run for the first time was all it took for Glenn to become hooked. Through his career as a traveling salesman Glenn was able to amass a large collection of brass era cars. He would head out on the road with an empty trailer and return with a car that he had pulled out of a barn, field, or chicken coop. One by one he brought them back to the way they were the day they rolled out of the factory. Over the years the collection grew and eventually the Gould's decided to open their first museum in Meredith New Hampshire. By the late 70's they had outgrown that space and moved the collection to their current location in Wells." (notice even on its own site the museum founder's first name is spelled two different ways: Glen and Glenn)
I was curious about the hi-wheeler car at Wells. It looks so different from all the other early cars. What was the purpose of those large wheels? Turns out Wikipedia has a page on hi-wheeler cars. This was a body style unique to US and was made by a lot of companies prior to 1910. The advantage to the driver was the large wheels provided higher road clearance, which was useful for the early primitive roads, and from a manufacturing point of view these wood spoke, solid tire wheels were essentially wagon wheels.
Wells related links
An 8 min YouTube video taken in summer 2013 just prior to the museum closing. Because the camera was kept running as the videographer walked around while you don't get more than a passing view of the cars, you get a real sense of how the museum looked, how the cars were packed tightly together, all the music players scattered about, plus the amazing about of other stuff that had been collected from the period displayed in cabinets and on the walls. The place was a treasure trove. As other have noted, the tight packing of the cars made photography difficult. As a practical matter it was just impossible for the visitor to get a good shot of many of the cars.
With my images in hand I did a Bing image search for some of the collection's more unusual and featured cars, and in this way found a few other sites with pictures also taken at the Wells Museum. A nice collection of photos taken at the Wells is at the site below. Found this site searching for the International Hi-wheeler.
Searching for the 1909 Miniature Pierce Arrow I found a Wells picture of it at this site. This site run, which is run by a vintage car enthusiast, is well organized and has 83 photos taken at the museum on a visit there in 2010. The 2nd link is the root site [/vintagecars], and it has dozens of links to vintage car events in NE area.
Searching the Baker Electric car I located a picture of its battery compartment that I recognized was taken at Wells. There is just a couple of Wells pictures here plus some background on the Baker electric car company.
And a few pictures of Wells here from 2002 taken with a 'disposable camera'.
The french site below has an extensive, historic look at a huge number of antique cars organized by decade and manufacturer, but with only fair picture quality. I located this site searching on the 1900 Crestmobile, and guess what? It's picture of its 1900 Crestmobile was clearly taken at the Wells auto museum (through the same window)! (Crestmobile was manufactured in Cambridge MA.)
Wells Museum 80 car collection
Here is a list of the Wells Auto Museum collection of 80 cars taken from its (old) web site, cleaned up and sorted by model year. (This list was undated. The 1909 Maxwell is missing from it, and the oldest car in the collection, Crestmobile, is shown as 1901, whereas in the museum the signage said 1900.)
-1901 Orient Buckboard
-1902 Thomas Model "17"
-1904 Stanley Steamer
-1904 Curved Dash Olds Runabout
-1905 Cross Engine Franklin Type "F"
-1905 Rambler Roadster
-1905 Schacht Model "K"
-1906 Ford Model "N" Roadster
-1907 Stanley Steamer
-1907 White Steamer Model "H"
-1908 Atlas Runabout
-1908 Baker Electric
-1908 International High Wheeler
-1908 Stanley Model "F" Touring
-1908 Stanley "T" Touring"
-1909 Buick Touring Model "17"
-1909 Pierce Arrow Touring
-1909 Smith Motoweel
-1909 Stanley Steamer
-1910 Ford Model "J"
-1911 Buick Truck
-1911 Ford Model "T" Depot Hack
-1912 Hupmobile Roadster
-1912 Pathfinder Roadster
-1915 Adams Indy Racer
-1915 Redding Standard
-1918 Pierce Arrow Model 48-B-4
4 Passenger Roadster
-1918 Stutz Bearcat
|-1920 Auto Red Bug
-1920 Templar Touring
-1920 Pierce Arrow
-1923 Ford Model "T" Snowmobile
-1924 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Pall
-1926 Pierce Arrow
-1927 REO Fire Truck
-1928 Auburn Boattail Speedster
-1928 Chevy Truck
-1929 Willys Night
|-1930 Ford Model "A"
-1931 Chrysler Convertible Sedan
-1934 Chrysler Air Flow
-1936 Chevrolet Convertible
-1937 Lincoln Zephyer
-1938 Chrysler Convertible Sedan
-1939 American Austin Bantam Roadster
|-1940 Bombardier Snocat Snowmobile
-1940 La Salle Convertible Sedan
-1941 Chrysler Town and Country
-1941 Dodge Command Car
-1941 Packard Convertible Coupe
-1949 Dodge Roadster
-1949 WIllys Jeepster
|-1952 Crosley Super Sport
-1953 Henry J
-1955 Chrysler C-300
-1961 Austin Healey Bug Eyed Sprite
-1963 Studebaker Avanti R-1
-1963 Studebaker Lark
-1982 Delorian DMC-12
While searching for Wells auto sites, I came across a link to walking trails in Sandford Me that look interesting. Sandford is 11 miles NW from Wells exit of Me Turnpike (10 miles NE of North Berwick ME). The Sanford 'rail trail' looks like the Sandford equivalent of the Kennybunkport area 'bridle path' trail, which is also an old rail spur, that runs from the road into Kenneybunkport (near bridge) to the town of Kennybunk. Sandford trails -- rail trail:
Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport ME
In the same spirit as the Wells Antique Auto museum, and in fact located just a few miles north of Wells, is a working museum with a wonderful collection of restored antique trolleys, the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport ME. I have taken a bunch of pictures here over the past few years. Here are a few shots I took last fall (Oct 12, 2016) on a beautiful day with colorful ME fall foliage in the background.
Browsing the museum's collection shows that open air car 838 was built in 1905. It was used until 1948 for special occasions (ferrying football fans from the railroad station to the Yale Bowl). It seats 75, weight 36,500 pounds and is powered by two Westinghouse motors (65 hp each). A discussion of the lights in the car indicates that the overhead trolley runs at 500V to 600V as five 120 V bulbs in series are used to light the interior.
Wow, that's some nice workwork in restored car 838
Visitors get to take a couple of mile trip on the restored trolleys
A look around the museum shows that restoring trolleys is a huge amount of work. The museum must have a large staff of skilled dedicated volunteers. Here's I picture I took of a trolley under restoration in their restoration barn. Looks more like a complete rebuild to me!
trolley undergoing restoration at Seashore Trolley Museum