Published in 1874
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Take Note: Local Maine Historical Societies, Memorabilia Collectors -- Maine Harness Racing Memorabilia from NEPLAINS --
Maine Memorabilia from NEPLAINS.COM
Bridgton Agricultural Association -- 1929 August 7 -- Harness Racing in Maine
Bridgton Agricultural Association -- 1929 August 8 -- Harness Racing in Maine
Bridgton Fair -- 1924 August -- Harness Racing in Maine
Colt Farm - 1893 -- Auburn, Maine (lot # 2)
Colt Farm -- 1893 -- Auburn, Maine (lot # 3)
Cream Brook Farm Stock -- 1883 -- Hartland, Maine
Maine Cherryfield -- Fair Race Track -- Harness Racing 1906
Maine Acton -- Shapleigh Fair Harness Racing -- circa 1907
Stallion Advertisement -- General Harrison -- Season of 1891 -- Fairfield, Maine
Periodicals featuring articles and images of the Age of "When the Horse was King"
Example: The Horse World -- 1907 December 17 -- Christmas Issue -- Harness Racing
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Given that the bicycle wheel sulky was introduced in 1892, one could assume that the second Currier & Ives with the bicycle wheels was a remake of the earlier lithograph with high wheels. Nelson's best time of 2.09 was recorded at Rigby Park in South Portland, Maine using a bicycle wheel sulky. Nelson also recorded a time fo 2.07 3/4 at the Moosepath Trotting Park in St. John, New Brunswick. This time was accomplished using the bicycle wheel sulk. In the bicycle wheel image the initials L.M. appear. This may be the initials of the artist who painted the remake.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Maine was best known for its horse breeding industry back in the mid 1800s to 1893. Maine was known as the State with the best breeders of carriage and harness racing horses. This industry still exists today. It is an economically fragile industry and is economically tied to harness racing. The harness racing industry is also facing its difficulties. The harness racing industry is tied to the revenues created by the Bangor based racino. The harness racing industry, the Maine agricultural fairs, Maine Horsemen, and the breeders of standardbred horses are supported by a portion of this revenue. It is critical that the industry keeps its portion of this revenue. If the economic resources that currently help support this industry are taken away, the Maine harness horseman, the standardbred horse breeders, and the active harness racing tracks may just become another piece of Maine's lost heritage. The following storyboards present data from a 2007 report on the equine industry and harness racing in the State of Maine.
Within the past two years I have learned a great deal about the history about the age of "When the Horse was King," horse breeding, lost trotting parks, and harness racing in the State of Maine. From these two years I have gained an overwhelming appreciation for and understanding of a way of life and a slice of Maine history and the Maine experience that is quickly being forgotten. Maine harness racing is tied to Maine's early agricultural societies and farmers who built fairgrounds and within those fairground they built trotting parks. Today Maine's trotting parks associated with agricultural fairs are endangered. Agricultural fairs may also be endangered.
Sadly, it is about the money. One key resource for Maine standardbred horse breeders, Maine harness horsemen, Maine agricultural fairs, and harness racing is the money allotted these organizations from the Hollywood Slots. Mainers just voted in a casino in Oxford. There are no funds from the Oxford casino that will be directed towards supporting Maine's harness racing industry. Therefore it is essential that Maine legislators change the laws that will bring Biddeford Downs to reality. Biddeford Downs will be provide additional funding that will support harness racing throughout Maine. If you wish to support a Maine tradition, contact your legislators and ask them to do what they can to support building Biddeford Downs, Maine harness racing, Maine standardbred horse breeders, Maine horsemen, and Maine's agricultural fairs.
This helps solve some of the financial issues. In addition to funding, we also need to find new ways to bring more people, young and old alike, to the harness racing tracks. We need new people coming into the harness racing business.
Public school students should learn more about the history of Maine in the age of "When the Horse was King."
New and bold strategies need to be proposed and acted upon that will educate Mainers about the standardbred horse, harness racing, and the key role that the horse played in Maine's economy and the culture of Maine people. Without a process of re-introductions Mainers will not come back to the harness racing tracks and new people will not become harness horsemen or horse breeders.
If we were ever to lose Bangor Raceway and Scarborough Downs (Biddeford Downs) harness racing would probably still exist in some form at our agricultural fairs. However, we need to take action to ensure that we can maintain quality in what is offered at harness racing events across the State of Maine.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
These storyboards were created from a PDF file e-mailed to me by Crystal Canney.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
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The painting of Bill Wellman is the
work of George H. Bailey. Bailey,
a lifelong resident of Portland, Maine,
was a horseman, a painter, and a veterinarian.
Bailey was a close friend of Hod Nelson.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Today Roger Smith and I visited Clayton Smith at his home on Sligo Road in Yarmouth, Maine. We had a wonderful visit. I spent my time listening to Roger and Clayton talk about Maine's harness racing history, their mutual friends, and even a bit of current business. Clayton purchased the property that once was the trotting park at Yarmouth. Clayton referred to it as the Royal River Speedway. In the late 1940's Clayton purchased the old trotting park property and with a neighbor cleared the track and established a training track for Yarmouth horsemen. Clayton hired Donnie Richards when Donnie was thirteen. One of the Clayton's best stories was trotting on the ice on the Royal River.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Today I visited Mr. and Mrs. Ed Sliva at their home on the Cony
Road. The Slivas have owned the Central Park property for
many years. They knew that the property was once home to a
trotting park. Features of the trotting park can still be seen.
Although covered by snow, this property was once Central Park
built by George M. Robinson starting in 1870 and finishing the
track in 1872. In July of 1873, Robinson organized a fair with
trotting events. The track was a half-mile circular track.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
1897 Horse Review -- G.M. Hatch -- Pine Tree Performers -- Nelson 4209 -- A.J. Libby of Gardiner, Maine
The Horse Review article courtesy of