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Author Topic: Old Chicago Tracks  (Read 1524 times)
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Posts: 3918

« on: December 10, 2007, 09:32:59 PM »

Anybod have any updated info on these?

Ravenswood (1890)
(from The Dean's of Palantine; X-mas 1964 Harness Horse)
Strassheim. had a strong interest in light harness horses, keeping several in training at the old Ravenswood double oval on Chicago's northwest side.
Ravenswood (2005)
Minutes east of the I-90 (Kennedy Expwy.) and I-94 (Edens Expwy.) intersection, Ravenswood lies north of Chicago’s downtown. The neighborhood falls into the area bounded by Clark to Kedzie (3200W) and Montrose (4400N) to Foster (5200N).

The Dexter Park section ENDS with the following:
      Dexter track gave way to the Central Park, later known as Garfield Park, and Washington Park.
From John Tinsley;  I remember hearing of a track near the Old Washington Park track
in what is now Homewood, if memory is correct I was told that it was
across Halsted street (Route #1)

The sales pavilion of the Chicago Union Stock yards replaced what was once Dexter
Park, the Windy City's earliest trotting horse track.

Harlem, ILL (1901)
See my local drive for HarlemLoc.jpg
Exterior view of the grandstand at Harlem Race Track (formerly Harlem Jockey Club) located near Roosevelt Road and Hannah Avenue (four blocks west of #43 on #38 [or Roosevelt Road]) in Forest Park (formerly the Village of Harlem), Illinois.,+Ill+++))

1905 Circa Washington Park
See my local drive for 1905WashingtonParkLoc.jpg
Washington Park Racetrack, located between East 61st and East 63rd Streets, South Cottage Grove Avenue and South King Drive (formerly South Park) in the Woodlawn community area of Chicago, Illinois.

West Side Club in Chicago, Illinois (1905)

Hawthorne (1905)

Garfield Park (1910)
Garfield Park Horse Speedway in the Garfield Park community area of Chicago, Illinois.

Homewood (1926)
Homewood Race Track in or near Chicago, Illinois,

Chicago Driving Park:
Diagrams of, 1936.
West Garfield Park Community Collection

1960's Circa Washington Park
. Located at the junction of the new Tri-State Tollway (Linking Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana) and the Kingery Expressway, which leads to the Indiana Tollway. The track is at 175th and Halsted, Homewood, Ill., 28 miles from Chicago's Loop.

 Hawthorne (2004)



Sportsman's Park (1949)
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Regards Don
Hero Member
Posts: 2348

« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2007, 09:44:32 AM »

Thanks again Don.All of these old racing sites are within 30 to 40 minutes from where I live,except the old Washington Park.What is amazing is that you found numerous tracks around the Chicagoland area that I never heard of.I thought I was a big fan and knew a few things. Undecided

                                                                     Goodfella horse shoe
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It's not too late to change the road you're on.
Hero Member
Posts: 3918

« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2007, 09:50:32 AM »

                Here's a recent find from another forum that provides some brief mention of Garfield Park and West Side Park (also has some photo's in the Library of Congress of horses to sleigh)

Not the only dubious occurrence in the colorful and often stormy history of Chicagoland racing. In The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America (1964; New York: Bonanza Books; out of print), William HP Robertson, longtime editor of The Thoroughbred Record, tells of a shooting war precipated by Hawthorne Park founder "Big Ed" Corrigan that resulted in the termination of a concurrently run meeting at rival Garfield Park.

Shortly after Corrigan's lease on West Side Park expired in 1891, he moved his operation to his new Hawthorne plant, which, being located in Stickney, lay outside the jurisdiction of the Chicago constabulary. The profitable Garfield enterprise, established by "poolroom" (read "bookie joint") entrepreneur Mike McDonald and a few of his politically connected confreres, had gotten underway just about the same time Corrigan opened for business at Hawthorne.

Accounts vary as to the real reasons a battalion of Chicago's finest, in 1892, raided Garfield, where bettors, bookmakers, owners, trainers, and jockeys--some still sporting silks--were herded into paddywagons and hauled off to the hoosegow. The "official" version has it that reform mayor Hempstead Washburne gave the order out of concern that the moral fiber of Chi citizenry might be frayed should they rub their big shoulders against those of reprobates populating such a den of iniquity as Garfield Park Race Track. More likely, Big Ed's money spoke louder than McDonald's, especially after he'd turned up the volume with who knows how many dead-president choristers. What's more, Corrigan's concern lay outside the city limits, hence out of reach of the long arm of the law.

If anyone needed further evidence of Big Chi racing not always having been on the up-and-up, he could skip (over another three-quarters of a century of graft) to 1970, when Marge Everett (later of Hollywood Park), who had managed Arlington and Washington Park since 1960, admitted to having bribed Illinois governor Otto Kerner to secure prime racing dates. To be fair to Marge, she did, apparently, have her attractive qualities. If midnight is justified in his suspicions about whatever happened to Washington Park, we know that somebody carried a torch for her.
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Regards Don
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