There was no organized antique automobile hobby activity in the Baltimore area until the organization of the Chesapeake Region of the AACA took place. There were, however, a few individuals who owned and drove antique automobiles. The largest known collection of cars by one individual at that time was that of Edward Hook, who lived then in the Walbrook section of Baltimore. He started collecting in about the year 1936, and by the year 1950 had collected some fifty vehicles. Another independent enthusiast was Willard J. Prentice, who bought a 1922 Ford Runabout in 1949 at the cost of $45.
In 1950, Willard Prentice bought a 1913 Ford from Laurence Stillwell of Goodville, PA, a member of AACA. Through association with Laurence Stillwell, Willard Prentice became interested in the AACA and became a member that year. In the spring of 1950, he attended the spring meet in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA. At this event he saw first hand what was being done in the hobby and his interest grew. These events led to the organization of the Chesapeake Region.
In the year 1952, Willard Prentice joined the National Capital Region. He drove over to Bethesda, Maryland on Sunday afternoons to attend meetings at the home of W.L.Cook. Somewhere along the line, Willard Prentice met Karl Feather and they went together to Bethesda to attend several meetings. It was Karl Feather who first advanced the idea of organizing in Baltimore. He thought a good idea would be to organize a Chapter of the National Capital Region. However, Willard Prentice thought the organization of a Region would be a much better idea. After much discussion, the Region idea was selected.
Karl Feather personally contacted all local owners of antique automobiles that he knew or heard about, while simultaneously Willard Prentice wrote letters to national members all around the area. When they felt that they had commitments from enough people to form an organization, a meeting was set up for Sunday afternoon, March 13, 1955, at the North Baltimore Y.M.C.A. Auditorium.
Dr. Mark L. Redding, Director of Gettysburg Region, attended and supplied necessary information on requirements for organization. Several suggestions were made for a Region Name and the choice was Chesapeake Region. A slate of officers was elected.
A petition for a Regional Charter was prepared with 24 signatures. This Charter was approved by the AACA National Board of Directors on April 30, 1955. Several activities took place in that first year of operation, the first of which was the Easter Parade along Charles Street, with a total of 21 antique and classic cars in the procession. The first Chesapeake Region Fall meet was held at the home of Edward Hook in Walbrook. Invitations were sent to National Capital and Gettysburg Regions. In all, 42 antique and classic cars were present. At the business meeting connected to this meet, the Constitution and Bylaws of the Region were adopted. This document, with only minor amendments, is still in use to this day. The principal documentation of the events leading up to the formation of our Region as well as the source material for this article was written by Willard J. Prentice, and first published in the Chesapeake Bulletin in April of 1974, entitled "How Chesapeake Region Started." Karl Feather personally contacted all local owners of antique automobiles that he knew or heard about, while simultaneously Willard Prentice wrote letters to national members all around the area. When they felt that they had commitments from enough people to form an organization, a meeting was set up for Sunday afternoon, March 13, 1955, at the North Baltimore Y.M.C.A. Auditorium.
The above Club Origins were excerpted from "CHESAPEAKE REGION HISTORY" written by the late William H. Miller. William H. Miller was appointed Club Historian in 1977 and served in that capacity until his death in 1998. Bill had an avid interest in antique automobiles, particularly those built prior to the 1930s. He frequently presented slide shows at club meetings that were much enjoyed.