LAKEWOOD - Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Packard was a staple of the automobile industry. The family is known for more than just their cars in Lakewood, though.
Almost 100 area residents turned out to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Packard Mansion in Lakewood on Saturday with a presentation by Dan Mathey, of the Packard Car Museum, as well as a plaque dedication and self-guided tours of the area. There were also several classic Packards on display for visitors to view.
The presentation, which kicked off the event, was a look into the history of both the Packard Company, as well as the family and their philanthropy. Dan Mathey also donated a painting of the Packards and their first automobile to the village to commemorate the event.
A painting by Dan Mathey was donated to the Packard Mansion Centennial Committee.
P-J photo by Ryan Atkins
The mansion, which was originally owned by J.W. Packard and his wife Elizabeth, has since been turned into condominiums. However, the history of the Packard family is still rich in the Lakewood area. One of the most notable contributions of the family was the donation of land for a fire house, which has since become the Lakewood Village Hall. The Packards also donated the first fire engine to the village.
"Both of the Packard brothers were extremely hard workers," said Mathey. "Even when they were young, they worked for their father in his hotel business, along with selling bicycles. W.D. Packard was the business mind for the company, but J.W. was the creative one. He was the inventor."
Despite J.W.'s death in 1928 and the Packard Motor Company going out of business in 1958, the family continued to donate both time and money to the Lakewood area, including funding a new wing at WCA Hospital and building an athletic field at Southwestern Central School.
For more information about the Packard Mansion, visit packardmansionNY.webs.com. For more information about the Packard Museum, visit packardmuseum.org.