Born: September 5, 1874 at Chateaugay Lake

Died: May 16, 1951

Married: Margaret L. Borroff

Children: Elbert G. Bellows, James W. Bellows, Elizabeth Bellows Cantwell

Elbert E. Bellows operated the Adirondack Bus Line and the Gray-Bellows Motor Company in partnership with E. L. Gray. He was a World War I veteran. He was president of the Saranac Lake Board of Education during the construction of the Petrova Avenue School. At different times he lived at 30 Church Street30 1/2 Franklin Avenue, 45 Riverside Drive and  31 Helen Street..

His family moved to Lawrenceville, New York, when he was young. After graduating from high school, he and two friends bicycled to New York City where they found work delivering milk via horse-drawn wagons.

He fought in the Spanish American War from 1898 to 1900, a member of Company B, 22nd Regiment, New York State Infantry.

After the war, he got a job driving electric taxicabs in New York City, and later worked as a chauffeur, in which capacity he drove M. Robert Guggenheim to Saranac Lake for several stays. In 1909, Guggenheim hired Bellows as a driver and path-finder for the first East-West Transcontinental race from New York to Seattle. The Guggenheim car was hit by a train while attempting to cross the Missouri River on a railway trestle.

Bellows settled in Saranac Lake, operating a bus line one summer from Bartlett's Carry to the railroad station at Saranac Inn. Later, he started the Gray-Bellows Motor Company in partnership with Lee Gray at 124 Main Street that sold Franklins that were manufactured in Syracuse. Many prominent hotel owners in the area bought Franklins, including Mrs. Chase at Loon Lake and Paul Smith's son Phelps Smith. Later, with other partners, the shop became a Hudson dealership on Broadway. The company also sold Hudsons.

He also started the Adirondack Bus Line, later sold to Adirondack Trailways, that ran hourly between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. The line was later extended to Plattsburgh via Wilmington Notch and AuSable Chasm; other lines ran briefly to Malone and to Westport.

Bellows served as a captain in the New York State Guard in World War I, and helped organize the Saranac Lake Home Defense Unit.


New York Times, May 18, 1951


Elbert E. Bellows, a pioneer in the automobile and motor-bus business, died Wednesday in his home in Malone, N. Y., at the age of 76.

An auto racing driver in the early Nineteen Hundreds, he took part in the Vanderbilt Cup races on Long Island. In 1908 he charted the course for the transcontinental automobile race from New York to Seattle. Six years later he moved to upstate New York, where he formed an automobile agency. The next year he organized the Adirondack Motor Bus Company, an early inter-city bus line.

Adirondack Record-Elizabethtown Post, May 24, 1951

Pioneer Car Racer Dies at Malone

Elbert E. Bellows of Saranac Lake, who chartered the course for the first transcontinental auto race, died in a hospital at Malone Wednesday, May. He was 76. He charted the route from New York to Seattle, Wash., in 1908. Bellows was a popular auto racing driver at the turn of the century. In 1914 Bellows moved to upstate New York where he founded the Adirondack Motor Bus Company. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and a retired captain in the National Guard. He served with the 105th Infantry Division during World War One.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, November 23, 1964

In 1913 Bellows and Earl Lenier Gray opened an auto agency and together they started the first bus company in the area that served Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Plattsburgh.


2013-03-07 16:32:23   Given the dates, the photo is likely Elbert, the son of Elbert E. Bellows. —MaryHotaling