The Lost Trotting Parks Storyboard Archives

The Lost Trotting Parks Storyboard Archives

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Views from the Ferris Wheel -- Windsor Fair

Slow Day -- 95 Degrees at Windsor Fair

Today was a slow day at Windsor Fair. The heat made it difficult to get around. I did find time to get to the track and videotape the first race. Before the race I visited the booth at the top of the grandstand where Lloyd Johnson announces the races. Finish line photos are also taken from this booth. John Gralla, who works for the International Sound Company, demonstrated the system for me. In fact, John printed off the finish for third race on August 30th that is featured in an earlier post.

St. George Agricultural Society's 1927 Poster

Adam Paul who lives in Montville requested that I post the 1927 poster promoting the 1927 fair. Below is a larger image of that poster. The poster is behind glass.

Adam Paul who lives in Montville requested that I post the 1927 poster promoting the 1927 fair. Below is a larger image of that poster. The poster is behind glass.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Topographic Maps with Lost Trotting Parks

John Lawrence e-mailed me last week and offered to help out with locating lost trotting parks. His first effort provided us with the following topographic maps. The lost parks are outlined with dashes.

First Day at Windsor Fair

By the time we got to Windsor Fair last night the sun was setting and darkness settling in. The house we were setting up in had no electricity. We unloaded and set up the basics. I arrived this morning around 10:00 to set up. Folding the Windsor Fair t-shirts took time. However, the display looks great! Come by and set the Lost Trotting Parks Display at the Windsor Fair. The Lost Trotting Parks Display is in the white house to the left of the Museum., See you there!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tomorrow Lost Trotting Parks Moves from the Union Fair to the Windsor Fair

A wide angle view from the start car --

Today was a great day at the Union Fair. Many fairgoers visited the Lost Trotting Parks History Booth. My good friend Dan DeVos helped me with the booth. This freed me up to go to the trotting track to put my banners in place. I returned to the starting car with my video camera so I could film the starts. In addition, I climbed the ladder once again to the judge's stand at the end of the track. Here I videotaped a section I titled, "The Judge's View." It will take me a few days to render the video to post to the blog.

If you come to the Windsor Fair, visit me at the Windsor Historical Museum. I will be in the white building to the left of the museum. Below is a photograph of the Union Trotting Park that I took with my wide angle lens.

View from the Ferris Wheel -- Union Fair -- August 2010

1934 Official Score Card -- North Knox Fair Association

A few moments ago I was looking through my trotting horse files. -- Must be time for a database -- As I turned an archival folder page I came upon the Official Score Card from a Race Meeting of the North Knox Fair Association. The race card features a special event: The David Harem Race. On the score card, Nelson, Maine's World Champion Trotting Stallion from Waterville, is written in by hand.

Courtesy of the National Harness Racing Musuem

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yesterday and Today at the Union Fair -- 1930s -- 2010

Union Fair Update!

Today my good friend Dennis St. Pierre helped me out at the Lost Trotting Parks History Booth at the Union Fair This freed me up to take some really great photos of trotting at the Union Fair. I even replicated a picture that was originally taken in the 1930. I was given permission to take pictures from a judge's stand at the end of the track. Even greater, I was allowed to ride in the start car. That was a blast! I sat next to Roger Smith who was operating the gate.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another Good Day at the Union Fair

It always amazes me the responses resulting from talking about lost trotting parks. The talk may be about horses, great grandparents, or about local communities and the location of their trotting park. Pete Jolliffe shared with me his experiences walking on the land where the China's trotting park was located. Brian Read spent time to help me locate the trotting park in Washington off Razorville Road.Brain also said that Washington was initially called Putham. Another person stated that there was a trotting park in Warren where new condominiums have been built. Elmer Ballad who now lives in Gorham was raised in Hartland. He told me about the time he walked in and found Hartland's old trotting track. Following are Google Earth images found based on our conversations.

Take a look at the following Google Earth aerials. Do you see possible lost trotting parks locations?

1. Friendship, Maine

2. West Rockport, Maine

Razorville Road, Washington, Maine

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Few Moments with Greg Wilkinson

Greg Wilkinson

Sunday night when I returned to the track to remove the Nelson and Lost Trotting Parks Banners, Greg Wilkinson was sitting by the portable stage test his sound equipment. We spoke for a few moments and then he helped me move the banners to a small shed.

This morning Greg came to see me in the Craft Barn. I call my space, The Lost Trotting Parks History Booth!

I have know Greg for about a year now. Greg has worked the fair circuit for more than forty years. He started back in 1961 working for his uncle Ernie Cobb. Greg timed races and posted photo finish pictures. As he reminisced he described the use of the strip camera that would be locked on the finish line and set at the speed of the horses. The camera would record from the nose back to determine placements and time. Greg also helped setting up sound equipment. His uncle's company was known as Audio Service Company. However, the real name was Royal Amusements. He bought the company from his uncle in 1982.

Greg's most eventful moment was timing the race by Mountain Skipper owned by Arthur Nason at the Fryeburg Fair. At the time the result was the state track record for a timed race.

Greg has enjoyed his work at Maine fairs. The fairs are great and so are the people. He considers the Gorham Raceway as Maine's most beautiful track.

As I do my Lost Trotting Park research Greg has helped me immensely by offering images for use in the Lost Trotting Parks storyboard. Over the years, Greg has collected fair and trotting park memorabilia. I thank him for sharing his collection with me so that my work can bring the images of the old parks to the people of Maine. Greg truly believes that it is important for Maine people to see the memorabilia associated with Maine's agricultural fairs and trotting parks. Readers of the Lost Trotting Parks Blog are fortunate that Greg has kindly shared with us the images of his collection.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Lost Trotting Parks History Booth -- Union Fair

Additional Trotting Park Locations

Today Paul Stowell, Historian for the Dixfield Historical Society and West Gardiner resident, helped with the Lost Trotting Parks History Booth. As Paul spoke with visitors to the booth, he was told of trotting parks, West Rockport, Appleton, Washington, Montville, and Friendship. I thank Paul for his help and ability to listen and gather information.

Tonight when I got home I checked my e-mail. Paul Flynn had e-mailed offering information on lost trotting parks in Albion and Montville. I appreciate this help. The Lost Trotting Parks Project is big. My goal is to include as many people as possible in this project.

At the Union Fair

On Wednesday of this week, I built two wooden forms to hold the banners that would be displayed at the track. My friend, Richard Burns, helped me set up the Lost Trotting Parks History Book in the Craft Barn. After five exhausting hours, we drove down to drive n the fence post to hold the banners. My good planning has us arrive with a hammer. It didn't work. Luckily, a fair volunteer was close by and he had the right tool for the job.

Harness racing began today at the Union Fair.As stated earlier, I had been given permission to put up two banners by the winner's circle. So this morning was the time to assemble the banners. Fortunately, cousin Clark and his wife Judy arrived from Bangor just in time to help me attach the banners to the forms and the forms to the fence posts. The following pictures show Clark and me in front of each banner!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Every T-Shirt Tells A Story

Lost Trotting Parks will be introducing a new line of T-Shirts at the Union Fair and at the Windsor Fair. Vintage images that symbolize the era of "When the Horse was King" are featured on the LTP T-Shirts. The Matthews Museum at the Union Fairgrounds and the Windsor Historical Society are partnering with Lost Trotting Parks to make available for sale T-Shirts with images reflecting the history of each fair.!

See you in Union and at the Windsor Fair!


Nelson and Imported Messenger Posters on Display at Union Fair and Windsor Fair

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lost Trotting Parks at Union Fair and Windsor Fair

Lost Trotting Parks will be at the Union Fair -- banners, storyboards, t-shirts, posters! Drop by to learn more about the latest research. I've designed four T-shirts with vintage images. Union Fair dates back to 1869. See you there.

There will also be a Lost Trotting Parks Display at the museum at the Windsor Fair.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dear Family Friend Celebrates His 100th Birthday

On this past Saturday, Libby and I traveled to Wells to celebrate Ken Ballard's 100th birthday. For many years, Ken was a potato broker in Presque Isle, Maine. He married Laura Libby who was a second cousin to my father, Keith Thompson. Over the years we had many wonder times with Ken and Laura at their camp on Cross Lake and at our camp on Madawaska Lake.

Ken was in wonderful frame remembering all who attended and reflecting on his friendships over the years. It was a great time to see friends and relatives we had not seen for many years.

I might also mention Ken is probably one of the few Mainers still living who actually saw John R Braden in action. Ken said that he was very young but he remembers seeing John R Braden on the track. Many of Braden's successes were between 1920 and 1924. Ken would have been ten in 1920 and fourteen in 1924.

My best to Ken Ballard for having lived a good long life! Those wonderful times have not been forgotten and are truly missed.

Stephen Thompson

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Writer in 1891 Questions the Lineage of Winthrop Messenger

Peter Stoyell sent me text from Wallace's Monthly related to the Kennebec County horse by the name of Winthrop Messenger. The owner of this horse claimed that this horse was the son of Imported Messenger. The following storyboard provides for your review text from J.W. Thompson's Noted Maine Horses, Vol. 1 published in 1874 and the text from Wallace's Monthly published around 1891. Clark Thompson, who published, Maine's Trotting Horse Heritage Trail, believes that Winthrop Messenger was indeed a son of Imported Messenger. The story is perhaps true regarding the burned papers. However, the descendants of this horse were great horses and obviously had to come from a quality bloodline.