On this spot the green flag dropped for twenty-three
sports cars to start the first road race in the United States
after World War II. It was October 2, a beautiful, crisp
Saturday in 1948. The event, sanctioned by the Sports Car
Club, of America, (SCCA) sponsored by the village of
Watkins Glen and attended by an estimated 5,000
spectators, marked the beginning of a racing era at Watkins
Glen, and throughout the country. It was the first closed-
circuit race in this country following WW II to be run on
public roads. The 6.6 mile course started at this spot with
a quarter-mile straight on Franklin Street, turned sharp
right on Old Corning Hill Road, with a steep climb to the
White House esses, across a plateau to School House
Corner, then a rapid descent to Cornett's Stone Bridge, up
again over serpentine oiled gravel to a sharp right at Archie
Smith's dirt surfaced corner, down a slightly bent, fast
straight to the railroad crossing, where the New York
Central held up trains for the races, leading to a mile long
descent into the village 'round a long sweeping right hand
bend on cement—then macadam, climaxed by an abrupt
25 mph left, a split second straight with a hard right onto
Franklin Street back past the start/finish line.
At the end of four laps, fifteen cars qualified for the
main event which ran eight laps. Eleven cars finished
In 1952, the last year the circuit was used, there were
more than one hundred entrants!
The course may be toured today over the same roads
marked with signs identifying the special features of
Starting Grid for the 1948 Race
CLASS A: Less than 1.5 Litres Engine Displacement
Car No. 2 · MGTC Supercharged · Cameron R. Argetsinger, Youngstown, Oh.
Car No. 3 · MGTC · Dean Bedford, Jr., Fullston, Mo.
Car No. 7 · MGTC · Denver Cornett, Jr., Louisville, Ky.
Car No. 14 · MGTC · William F. Gallagher, Falmouth, Ma.
Car No. 20 · MG J4 Midget · I. Otto Linton, Philadelphia, Pa.
Car No. 29 · MGTC · Philip H. Stiles, York, Pa.
CLASS B: 1.5 to 3.0 Litres Engine Displacement
Car No. 4 · Jaguar SS-1 · George F Boardman, Hartford, Ct.
Car No. 5 · B.N.C. — · George C. Caswell, Haverford, Pa.
Car No. 25 · MGTC Supercharged · Miles Collier, Everglades, Fl.
Car No. 24 · MGTC Supercharged · Sam Collier, Everglades, Fl.
Car No. 16 · Bugatti 35A GP · Robert B. Gegen, Miami, Fl.
Car No. 35 · Alfa-Romeo 8C 2900 · Frank T. Griswold, Jr., Wayne, Pa. ← Finished 1st
Car No. 17 · Alfa-Romeo · George S. Hendrie, Detroit, Mi.
Car No. 8 · MG Supercharged · Haig Ksayian, Lambertville, NJ.
Car No. 21 · Bugatti 35A · William F Milliken, Jr. ,Buffalo, NY.
CLASS C: 3.0 to 4.5 Litres Engine Displacement
Car No. 33 · Duesenberg · J. J. Brundage, Miami, Fl.
Car No. 12 · Vauxhall 30/98 · Col. George E. Felton, Boston, Ma.
Car No. 18 · Merlin · Kenneth F. Hill, Wayne, Pa.
Car No. 31 · GP Maserati · George B. Weaver, Boston, Ma.
Car No. 32 · Stutz BB · Dudley Wilson, Philadelphia, Pa.
CLASS D: More than 4.5 Litres Engine Displacement
Car No. 1 · Mercedes Benz S · Charles Addams. New York, NY.
Car No. 9 · Bu-Merc · Briggs S. Cunningham. Green Farms, Ct. ← Finished 2nd
Car No. 30 · Lagonda Rapide · E. M. Vaughn, Austell, Ga.