Sep 23 2013

Mystery Foto #34 Solved: The Sayville Automobile Club in Front of the Kensington Hotel in Sayville

Kathy Curran, Executive Director of the Suffolk County Historical Society, submitted this previously unpublished photo of a car club dated June 20, 1911.

Kathy notes: "This photo was given to a village historical society by a donor whose grandfather was a member of the car club. When I saw the Motor Parkway sign, I thought of you."

Answers to the The Mystery Foto questions:

1. Name the car club posing in this photo under the Motor Parkway sign: Sayville Automobile Club.

2. Location where the photo taken: Kensington Hotel located on the northeast corner of Main Street and Railroad Avenue in Sayville.


Congratulations to my favorite co-author Al Velocci and Mystery Foto expert detectives Greg Oreiro and Steve Lucas for solving this very difficult challenge.

Mystery Foto #33 Update: Jerry Helck, former owner of Old 16, has provided another possible location for the Mystery Foto.

If you wish to submit a Mystery Foto, please send a jpeg to .


Howard Kroplick




Bonus question: Identify the top sign. It is likely a pennant indicated the location for a local yacht club.

Al Velocci's Hints

My favorite co-author believes he has solved the mystery. Here are three more views of the location.


Sep 20 2013 Ted 1:51 AM

First off ,I think the pictures are too small and some of them are blurry and can’t make things out…not even with a magnifying glass. Right about virtually impossible question. The one sign is for New York and Brooklyn the other one an arrow pointing to St James,don’t know what that is on top of that,the other arrow I don’t know,I think it’s motor ? too blurred to tell. Best I can do right now. May be back on this later on tonight. Goodnite

Sep 20 2013 Ted 5:52 PM

Don’t laugh,another one of my wild guesses,is it Krugs Corner?I i’m desperate aren’t I? I’ll try anything,won’t I?

Sep 22 2013 Greg Oreiro 9:44 AM

Thanks to Al for cracking it wide open for me!

My best guess on the car club would be a chapter of the American Automobile Association (“AAA”/“Triple-A”) since I believe they were the most prominent club at the time.

The location is Sayville.
The club is standing in front of the Kensington Hotel on the Northeast corner of Main St (Montauk Hwy) & Railroad Ave. Prior to it being the Kensington (1900-1952) the hotel was known as Bedell Tavern (1837-1899).
Railroad Ave changes names a few times, but following it takes you directly to the LIMP almost on the Petit Trianons’ front steps, so that Motor Pkwy sign would be accurate.

I couldn’t concretely match the sign for the bonus question to anything, but it would appear to be a nautical flag/yacht club burgee maybe indicating a marina, club or ferry service nearby.

Additionally, I also found that the top photo of Al’s three clue pics was taken Nov. 17 1913. It’s the Vanderbilt Coach with Alfred Vanderbilt at the reins pulling up to the hotel. Text on the back of the photo reads “Venison Dinner Tuesday next 8PM”

Sep 22 2013 Steve Lucas 7:41 PM

I believe the location of the photo is on the northeast corner of Montauk Highway (Main St.) and Railroad Avenue in Sayville, NY with the Kensington Hotel in the background. The sign to the left of the Motor Parkway sign looks like a yacht club pennant so I’ll take a wild guess and say Sayville Yacht Club. And maybe the club is the Sayville Automobile Club.

Sep 23 2013 Ted 1:57 AM

It must be a hotel out east,because the signs are, to New York and Brooklyn on one,St James on the other like I said before. Can’t make out the name,so can’t search for it to find out where it is

Sep 23 2013 Ken Wiebke 10:46 AM

Quite a puzzle. 
It also occurs to me :how do we know the group is a car club and if so what might the name and background of that club be?

Sep 23 2013 Howard Kroplick 9:54 PM

Ken, the photo was donated by a person “whose grandfather was a member of the Sayville Automobile Club.” -

Sep 23 2013 Art K. 10:30 PM

Howard - guess I was too late - my entry was going to be Sayville also based on Al’s photo of the Kensington Hotel.  But I spent too much time trying to find the yacht club flag shown in the picture.  I e-mailed you a NY Times article from Sept. 1905 showing the hotel and others and 4 routes of interest to motorists on LI - #4 being the Vanderbilt Cup Race route.

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