Over the weekend Denny Atkinson from Phillips was researching Phillips' lost trotting park at the Philiips Historical Society. As he reviewed old newspapers, he noted and then shared with me that the newspaper reported trotting results in Weld, Maine. So today I called Weld's Town Office and spoke with Carol Cochran, Weld's Town Clerk for 33 years. Carol shared with me that she had never heard of a trotting track in Weld. Carol did state that she would check with Sean Minear at the local historical society. It is not uncommon that knowledge regarding trotting tracks becomes lost. At some point, it disappears from conversations. Hopefully, Carol will find information about Weld's Lost Trotting Park!
The Google Earth image of Weld in this post shows what I believe to be the halo of Weld's Lost Trotting Park!
This post highlights the horse Winthrop Messenger, a son of Imported Messenger. In 1888, John Wallace of the Wallace Monthly identified this horse as being the primary source of the best stock of horses that existed in Maine between 1816 and 1888. There always seems to be pieces missing to the stories of many of Maine's famous horses. In this instance, the detective task is to determine the location of the farm or business where Winthrop Messenger died. Clark Thompson, author of Maine Trotting Horse Heritage Trail, has been unsuccessful in his attempts to find this location. We do know from reading J.W. Thompson's Noted Maine Horses, Vol. I that Winthrop Messenger was purchased in New York in 1816 and brought to Winthrop, Maine. The horse became known as either Winthrop Messenger or Maine Messenger. The horse was sold to a man in Dixfield. Messenger was kept on an island. Here the horse jumped the fence and in doing so was injured. The original owner from Winthrop repurchased Messenger and in 1832 a man by the name of Henry Stone took the horse to Anson, Maine. In 1834, Messenger died. Did Henry Stone become Messenger's last owner? Or, was Stone merely a person hired to take the horse to Anson? If Stone was the owner, then we would assume that Stone delivered the horse to his own farm or business establishment. If Stone merely was a delivery person, then Stone probably lived in Winthrop. The following image will provide you with more detailed information about Winthrop Messenger. If you can help us with identifying the Anson location where Messenger died, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Trotting Association authorized trots at the Buxton one-third mile trotting park in 1885 and 1890. The park is now a gravel pit. When removing gravel from this location in the 1960's, Louis Emery learned of the track's existence.
There are two possible lost trotting park locations in Readfield. One location is off the Church Road and the other is behind Maranacook Community School. The Old Fairgrounds Road off Main Street in Readfield is the driveway to the school. However, behind the school is what appears to be the halo of an old track. However, it has also been reported by more than one source that a trotting park was located on the left side of Church Road just up from the cemetery. Ken and Laura Merrill, formerly of Fayette and now living in Durham, provided the location of the trotting park off Church Road.
The National Trotting Association authorized trots at the Readfield Trotting Park in 1885, 1890, 1899, 1904 through 1912, 1921, 1929 and 1930.
The National Trotting Association authorized only one year of trotting at the Durham Trotting Park -- the year 1899. The Google Earth image of Durham presents what appears to be a halo of the old track. Laura and Ken Merrill of Durham provided the location of the old trotting park off Durham Road. As a young man (around 1948), Ken drove his car around the track
The National Trotting Association authorized trots at the Phillips Trotting Park in 1906 and 1909 through 1930. This Google Earth image of Park Street in Phillips provides you with the image of the halo of the lost park.
The National Trotting Association authorized trots at the trotting park in Orrington during the following years: 1914, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1919, 1921. The Google image of Old Fairground Drive in Orrington shows the halo of the old trotting park. Notice how the apartment complex follows one of the turns of the track.
Still visible and open, the trotting park in Ashland, Maine, may be just one of the many scenic views on Route 11. The National Trotting Association authorized trots at this track in 1907, 1908, 1910, and 1911. The following photos are Google Earth images showing an aerial view and two street views of the trotting park.