Thursday, May 28, 2009

Howard B Hutcheson

Previously, we focused on fruit magnate Aubrey G. Hutcheson who owned a 100 acre farm that now comprises the Presidential Section. As mentioned in that post, shortly after Hutcheson sold his farm in 1910, three houses were built across the street for two of his sons, Ralph Everard and Howard Brownell Hutcheson, and one for his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. & Mrs. Walton and Violet Blackford. Judging by the 1914 Belcher-Hyde property map shown below, the Dutch colonial currently occupied by China Connection is the one at left-center of the image and was built for H. B. Hutcheson. (The original school house for SD27, which can be seen in red on the top right corner, was built only two years earlier in 1912. Though additions and modifications were made to the school over the years, the original building still stands and is distinguished by the bell tower atop of it).

Here is a recent photo of China Connection -

H. B. Hutcheson was evidently some kind of a sportsman who raced horses that were raised at his father's stable in West Hempstead - horses with names like Lottie and Princess. When automobiles became the fashion in the 1900s, he turned to racing autos. On June 18th, 1905, he was arrested in Hempstead for driving a vehicle in excess of the village's "10 mph" speed limit. The Village of Hempstead that summer started an initiative to crack down on speeders and bicyclists who rode on the sidewalk, (though by the middle of the summer the effort peetered out since officers found it too hot to sit and wait at the speed traps and also because the Automobile Association of America posted warnings on the outskirts of town about speeding through the village). After appearing before the judge, he was fined $25, a hefty sum in 1905 considering that in today's dollars (using the inflation calculator), that would translate to $592. Perhaps he recovered at least some of that money that November when he won an auto race at the Empire City Race Track in Yonkers. The race was part on an event that showcased the Oldsmobile Runabout or "Curved Dash", which is considered the first mass produced automobile ever made (photo below from the Curved Dash Wiki entry).

Hutcheson won the one-mile race on his Oldsmobile in a whopping 2 minutes. (That's an average of 30 mph for the mathematically challenged).

It was at H. B. Hutcheson's home in West Hempstead that his father, Aubrey died in 1924, across the street from what used to be his magnificent estate. H. B Hutcheson did not survive much longer after that, as he died in 1927 at the age of 50.

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