The Lost Trotting Parks Storyboard Archives

The Lost Trotting Parks Storyboard Archives

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lost Trotting Park on Vinalhaven






According to the Bangor Daily News and Courier, Friday, January 19, 1900, a Mr. Armbrust of Vinalhaven along with other horsemen offered a large price to purchase a horse named "Little Fred."

HORSE TROTTING By Sidney L. Winslow
Horse trotting seems to have been a favorite winter sport,1ocal1y, in the olden days but died quite suddenly in the late 1890’s and in the nineteen hundreds we saw them no more.
Time was when such sportsmen as Ben Carleton, Luther Crockett, Sam Randa11, Henry Patterson, A1 Mudgett, Joe Ty1er, Silas Trundy, Jim Armbrust, 0.G. Weeks, Ben Graffam, Joe B1ack, Herb Sanborn, Fred S. Walls, Frank Calderwood, Arthur Dutch, Herman Robbins, Dr. B.H, Lyford, James 0. Carver, Fred Snowman, Bert Vinal, Emery Ladd, James Carlin and others took it upon themselves to see that Vinalhaven did not lack for this sport just as soon as the ice was strong enough to permit it.
In the early years it mattered not whether it was a driving horse or a work horse that was entered for [he race; in fact, the chances are that there were but few horses in town that were kept for driving purposes only.
It is recorded that at one time Sam Randall borrowed Mr. O.H. Lewis’ horse James, a horse that was used for hauling Mr. Levis' tin pedlar's cart about town, entered him in a race and won three straight heats.
The above was not James’ first race, however, for he had won many arace in times agone when driven by his owner, Mr. Lewis, whose urge to the horse for greater speed was a very light touch of the whip and the softly spoken command, "Proceed, James" and to which, 'tis said, the faithful old James never failed to respond.
During the summer months of the long ago , the horses were raced on the level stretch of road near Indian Hill, so called, and which even today is referred to as the Trotting park.
Horse trots were very popular affairs during the 1880’s and every community of any size had its trotting park or race track.
The stretch of road used for that purpose loca1ly was inadequate for the purpose, so there soon came the talk of building a new track. The idea soon became an urge and in short time the dream became a reality.
Vinalhaven’s Trotting Park
The Trotting Park, 1884 to 1909, was the work of the young men of Vinalhaven, who after working nine or ten hours at granite cutting, fishing and other work, built a trotting park on the road to North Haven opposite the watering trough. They smashed boulders, huge rocks, cut bushes and cleared the land for a race track. There was great enthusiasm for harness racing from 1884 – 1909. In the winter the same men raced with sleights on Carver’s Pond and Old Harbor Road. Occasionally sleigh racing was held on the main street, as far as the “Block at the Fountain.”
Young women sometimes participated in the Main Street sleigh races driving their own horses.
Note: Many of the finest sleighs were manufactured at the State Prison in Thomaston. The November 1893 “Prison News” stated, a half-dozen covered sleighs are being manufactured for the winter demand.
At the Vinalhaven Trotting Park, the purse in the 2.45 class was $75.00. Entries were from Belfast, Rockport, Hope, Lincoln and Vinalhaven. There was a $50.00 purse in the 3.00 class and in the free-for-all the $185.00 purse was divided. Entries were from Rockland, Camden, Belfast and Bangor. The fare for the trip including admission was $0.75.
The last race in Vinalhaven was held in 1909 with J.S. Black presiding as a judge.
Vinalhaven Town Census: In 1891 there were 110 Smiths, 59 Areys, 51 Hopkins, 47 Vinals, 38 Carvers, 33 Lanes and 31 Roberts.
In 1892 there were 67 Calderwoods, 69 Browns, 44 Dyers, 38 Coombs, 49 Youngs, and 40 Vinals.
Image downloaded from Microsoft Terra-Server.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Horse Auction at Windsor Fairgrounds Monday, October 26, 2009



The auction of Maine Sire Stakes Horses featured Maine Sire Stakes Eligible Yearlings, Weanlings, 2 and 3 Year Olds and Broodmares.

Trotters on the Kennebec

Hallowell Register, January, 1906 --

"The ice track has been cleared on the Kennebec and all horsemen are cordially invited to "try out" their steeds on the enticing surface." Kennebec Central Driving Club sponsored Thursday races such as the free-for-all, .29 trot and .33 pace on the half-mile by 80 foot wide racetrack. Prizes were awarded in bushel of oats and betting was discouraged. "No money is to be made . . . . the ardent wish of all concerned." Competitors came primarily from Augusta, Hallowell, and Gardiner with horses named "Billy J", "Gray Pointer", "Miss Greywood", and "Chub". Races started at 2:00 p.m. sharp (no waits for late comers), the free-for-all being first, with "Bike" sulkies debarred from the course. January ice race brought exciting time to Hallowell during the down days of winter.

Courtesy of Sam Webber, Historian, Hallowell, Maine.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sylvan Park -- Machias' Later Trotting Park

Sylvan Park -- Machias' second trotting park (Google Maps Aerial View)

Riverside Park -- Machias, Maine (Endangered)


Riverside Park in Machias was built around 1860. According to current owner of the property, Chris Sprague, the clay track was considered the fastest track in Maine. Today the location of the track is threatened by being flooded. There are plans by environmentalists to remove dikes and flood this area. Chris Sprague is in the process of revitalizing the track in order to exercise horses.

-- Images courtesy of Chris Sprague, Machias, Maine --

Riverside Park -- Machias



Aerial view of location of Riverside Park in Machias, Maine (Google Maps).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Anson Maine Trotting Park

Click to see Google Maps aerial view of the trotting park in Anson, Maine.

In 1848 was incorporated the West Somerset Society, the show of which was held alternately at Madison and Anson. Within a year or two they have purchased and enclosed grounds at Anson, and the exhibitions are well attended. The North Somerset, which completes the list, was incorporated in 1856.

"This Society now embraces 223 members, 31 new ones having been added during the past year. Its Annual Exhibition was held at Anson, on the 3d and 4th days of October.
Since our Show last year, this Society has made rapid progress. We have secured a show ground and trotting park upon a beautiful spot of twenty acres, well enclosed with a high fence, permanent fixtures for stock, and one of the best trotting tracks in the State.

From the DAILY KENNEBEC JOURNAL --
Track and Stable Gossip.
Fred D. Moore of North Anson has sold his mare, Lena S (by Cylex) to Harlow of Boston.

The North Anson Trotting Association has purchased the West Somerset Agricultural Grounds and will have some good trots here this season.

One of the finest brood mares in North Anson is the dark bay mare owned by Geroge Flint. She is by Fred boone by Daniel Boone, dam by Wilkes Knox by Gilbreth Know. This mare is eight years old and stands 15.2. Mr. Flint raised her and she has been bred four times to St. Croix and in every instance getting fine colts. Here first product was St. Croix Jr, (2.19 3.4) as a four-year-0ld.

Article Courtesy of Neplains, Inc.

-- Notes from the Anson Historical Society (Emily Quint)
There was a trotting park in the Anson village and in the North Anson village - both are legally Anson. Between 1945-1855 they were legally separate towns. So I'm assuming you're looking for the south Anson village trotting park that is now an apartment complex.

The North Anson trotting park is on the 1883 map (page 8) of the Old Maps of Southern Somerset County Maine in 1883. It is in the upper right hand corner of the map (cemetery and park (trotting park) are near. The current Carrabec High School is located on the trotting park property. Kenton Quint donated the property for the school.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Camden Trotting Park Association

This year the Camden Trotting Park, owned by the Camden Trotting Park Association, opened with a most successful celebration on July 4. This park has an excellent half mile track, and is the only park in the state having a sub-way entrance. It has since been the scene of. many successful celebrations and races and for a number of years several successful and interesting fairs were held there. 1901/1902

Taken from History of Camden and Rockport, Maine By Reuel Robinson 1907

Canton Maine Trotting Track

This Google Map image shows an aerial view of location of a trotting track in Canton, Maine. According to the Wallace's Yearbook authorized races were held in Canton between 1885 and 1930.

DAILY KENNEBEC JOURNAL, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1915

ABOUT 9000 PEOPLE ATTEND CANTON FAIR

Rumford, Me., Sept. 24. -- An attendance of 9000 at the Canton fair Thursday listened to music by the girls' band and the boys' band of Rumford and saw some exciting races. The five-mile motorcycle races was won by Turner of Wiscasset in 6 minutes 20 seconds.

The Harness Racing Summary:

GREEN HORSE RACE -- PURSE $100
Togo (Richards) . . . . . . . 1 1 1
Slow Joe (Gammon) . . . . . . 2 2 2
Alien Bell (Childs). . . . . .3 3 3
Traveler (Snow) . . . . . . . 4 4 4
Time -- 2.31 3-4, 2.29 3-4, 2.25 1-2

2.20 CLASS, MIXED -- Purse $150
Dexter R. (Archibald) . . . . 1 1 1
American Blossom (Tarbox). . .2 2 4
Babe Himore (Metcalf) . . . . 5 3 2
Alfred Nelson (Briggs) . . . .4 4 3
Donald L. Also Started
Time -- 2.20 1-4, 2.20 1-4, 2.31 3-4

2.20 TROT AND 2.25 PACE PURSE $150
Ralph Wilkes (Jordan) . . . . 1 2 1 1
Bon Ami (Hayden) . . . . . . .3 1 2 2
Peter Pan (Wilkins) . . . . . 2 3 3 3
Chester B . . . . . . . . . . 4 4 4 4
Time -- 2.21 1-2, 2.20 1-4, 2.21 1-2, 2.22 1-2

Article courtesy of Neplains, Inc.

Cherryfield Trotting Park


Click to see an aerial view from Bing of the trotting park located in Cherryfield, Maine.

The Google Maps aerial view provides an outline of the track with an old mapping of Park Street.


The Cherryfield trotting park held authorized almost every year between 1904 and 1930.

Daily Kennebec Journal, Thursday, September 14, 1916

FAST TRACK AND EXCITING RACES AT CHERRYFIELD

Cherryfield, Me., Sept. 13 --
The West Washington County Fair opened Tuesday with an attendance of about 2000 persons, good weather and a fast track. The races were all exciting with bunched finishes in nearly every heat. When swinging into the stretch the first heat of the 1.18 Class, the roan gelding Lucky Baldwin, owned by Charles Co___ of Calais and driven by Walter Haley., who was leading the field, suddenly, slowed up and fell dead on the track of heart disease. The horse was a well-known campaigner by Vassar, with a mark of 2.19.

Article courtesy of Neplains, Inc.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trotting Park in Bridgton Maine -- Outline of Possible Track Behind Hospital

Authorized trotting races were held for many years between 1885 and 1930. Take a look at the Google Map image? Was the former track located behind the hospital in Bridgton?

Daily Kennebec Journal -- Friday, August 16, 1918 --

3000 SEE THE BRIDGTON RACES
Bridgton, ME., Aug. 15 -- More than 3000 saw the races Wednesday at the annual fair. Parlor, owned and driven by James Hennessey of Boston, outclassed the 2.30 stake field. Cheerful Charlie won the opening heat of the fast class, when Mud Lake came along in front in the next two, this even being carried over to Thursday along with the 2.25 class,with Miss Eva twice a heat winner.

2.12 Class, Mixed Purse $300, Unfinished -- Mud Lake (Schuman) won two heats; Cheerful Charlie (Johnson) won one heat. Best time, 2.16 1/4 by Cheerful Charlie

2.30 Trot, Purse $350 -- won by Parion (Hennessey); Peter Jay (Mayberry) second; Russ W. (Jack) third.

2.25 Class, Mixed, Purse $250, Unfinished -- Miss Eva (Carpenter), won two heats; The Lassie (Whitredge) finished second in each. Best time, 2.19 1/4 by Miss Eva.

Article courtesy of Neplains, Inc.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Trotting Park at Lee, Maine


From History of Lee, Maine by George J. Varney 1886 --
Lee is a small town in the eastern part of Penobscot County, on what is called the “Upper Route" twm Bangor to Calais, 60 miles from each city. It is bounded on the north by Winn, east by Springfield, and west b Lincoln. Much of the hind is of excellent quality, and bore originally a dense growth of the hard woods, with hemlock, spruce and pine. In the southern part of the town are several ponds, the largest being Mattakeunk (area, 1,000 acres) and Ware ponds, the head of the Passadunmkeag Stream. Lee village, the chief centre of business, is situated on Mattakeunk Stream, near the pond of the same name, where there is a good water-power. There are here two sawmills—one a board, shingle and grist-mill, a tannery, and wheel, tinware, and furniture factories. Near the village is a good trotting park, where fairs are held. The nearest railroad station is that of the European and North AmericanRailway at Lincoln village, 12 miles west of Lee village.
From Noted Maine Horses, Volume 1 by John Wallace Thompson --
Gen. Jackson – Dapple brown stallion, with small blaze in face, 15 ½ hands high, and weights 1000 pounds, foaled May 14, 1868, bred by Ira C. Harmon, Lee, Me., got by Humphrey horse, he by Sherman Black Hawk, dam, Nellie, by Col. Crockett, he by Old Col. Crockett. July 4, 1873, at the Lee Trotting Park, in a race with Paddy, he won in straight heats, the fastest being 2.53. Afterwards a match was made between them and trotted at Bangor, in which Gen. Jackson was beaten, being in an unfit condition. Mr. Harmon sold him, in the fall of 1873 to Fred Jordan, of Old Town.

Click this link to see the former location of the Lee Trotting Park today!

Additional research on the Lee Trotting Park will be completed within the next year.

Trotting Park at Lee, Maine

From History of Lee, Maine by George J. Varney 1886 --
Lee is a small town in the eastern part of Penobscot County, on what is called the “Upper Route" twm Bangor to Calais, 60 miles from each city. It is bounded on the north by Winn, east by Springfield, and west b Lincoln. Much of the hind is of excellent quality, and bore originally a dense growth of the hard woods, with hemlock, spruce and pine. In the southern part of the town are several ponds, the largest being Mattakeunk (area, 1,000 acres) and Ware ponds, the head of the Passadunmkeag Stream. Lee village, the chief centre of business, is situated on Mattakeunk Stream, near the pond of the same name, where there is a good water-power. There are here two sawmills—one a board, shingle and grist-mill, a tannery, and wheel, tinware, and furniture factories. Near the village is a good trotting park, where fairs are held. The nearest railroad station is that of the European and North AmericanRailway at Lincoln village, 12 miles west of Lee village.
From Noted Maine Horses, Volume 1 by John Wallace Thompson --
Gen. Jackson – Dapple brown stallion, with small blaze in face, 15 ½ hands high, and weights 1000 pounds, foaled May 14, 1868, bred by Ira C. Harmon, Lee, Me., got by Humphrey horse, he by Sherman Black Hawk, dam, Nellie, by Col. Crockett, he by Old Col. Crockett. July 4, 1873, at the Lee Trotting Park, in a race with Paddy, he won in straight heats, the fastest being 2.53. Afterwards a match was made between them and trotted at Bangor, in which Gen. Jackson was beaten, being in an unfit condition. Mr. Harmon sold him, in the fall of 1873 to Fred Jordan, of Old Town.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Little Rigby Park -- Casco, Maine

Click to see Google Maps image of the location of what once was Little Rigby Park. Although trotting occurred on this half mile track, the park was mostly known for its fairs. Trotting races authorized by one of the national trotting association were held at this park between 1912 and 1916.

In the early 1900's Cyrus Mayberry raised race horses and built a 300 foot long barn with horse stalls and an indoor riding rink. Mayberry with others formed an association to build a fairgrounds and half mile dirt trotting track. The association purchased land at Pike's Corner in Casco to build the fairgrounds. Annual fairs were held beginning in the early 1900s. The fairs were held in early September and lasted three days.

Today, Casco hosts a very successful Casco Day that is well attended.

Details were initially authored by Casco resident, Leona Hall. This information was given to me through a telephone interview with Gilbert Avery.