KINGFIELD – Next week, the 100th anniversary of a land speed record set by the legendary Stanley Steamer car will be celebrated in Florida.

The steam-powered car was built by the Stanley brothers whose hometown was Kingfield. One of The Stanley Museums is now located here.

“The event has been getting international attention, which is just terrific for us,” says Susan S. Davis, president of The Stanley Museum in Kingfield. “There are cars coming over from England and people from as far away as Australia. It’s truly exciting.”

More than 50 restored Stanleys and other steam cars, as well as numerous antique gas-powered vehicles and thousands of spectators will gather Jan. 26 on the hard-packed sands in Ormond Beach, Fla., to celebrate the Stanley land speed record.

The excitement began 100 years ago when Ormond Beach was the first official U.S. land-speed proving ground for auto racers and manufacturers. The first speed tournament was held there in 1903. Eventually, Ormond Beach earned the reputation as the “Birthplace of Speed,” a distinction the community still holds dear.

The Stanley twins, F.E. and F.O., born and raised in Kingfield, rolled their first Stanley Steamer onto the streets in 1897. The public responded very well to the new concept and, by the turn of the 20th century, Stanley Steamers were selling quite well. The twins were naturally competitive and began testing their car’s speed and durability with impressive results over the next few years.

In 1905, F.E. designed and built the aerodynamic racer Stanley Rocket and in January 1906, he took the Rocket to Ormond Beach for the annual speed tournament. With Fred Marriott behind the wheel, the Rocket soon sailed into the record books, and held the record for four years. Marriott’s racing acumen and the Stanley engineering together set Ormond Beach’s most famous land speed record that day, at 127.659 mph, an incredible achievement for that time.

One hundred years later, racers, car manufacturers, antique auto enthusiasts and fans will commemorate this milestone. Events will include a parade of vintage race cars featuring Stanleys, Dobles and Whites; road tours of the surrounding area, a parade lap at Daytona/USA and receptions.

Jan. 26 has been set aside for activities on the beach, with track set up and open pits, a fly-over of vintage aircraft while a Rocket replica makes a solo beach run and then a parade of the vintage cars. The day wouldn’t be complete without an exhibition of time trial runs by the participating cars and a celebratory picnic afterwards.

“Without question, this centennial will be the single largest celebration the Stanley Museum has ever mounted,” Davis wrote in a news release. “Steam car owners, Stanley family, Stanley Museum members are all turning their attention toward northeast Florida in January of 2006.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating this event with enough fanfare to put it in the history books, where it belongs,” Davis says.

The centennial event is expected to gain worldwide media coverage as well as magazine coverage from both antique and modern car magazines.

To learn more about this event or The Stanley Museum in Kingfield, call 265-2729 or visit www.stanleymuseum.org.