The Fairmount Park Motor Races, 1908–1911

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About the Book

For four years in the early 1900s, the Fairmount Park Motor Races were run on an eight-mile course in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park. They drew half a million spectators the first year but surprisingly have largely been overlooked as part of automobile racing history. There were never any serious injuries and not a single death but after four years the event was banned, with safety concerns cited.
Both the on-track action and the off-track events that affected the races are described as are the successful crusade to stop the races and the attempts to revive it in the years following.

About the Author(s)

Michael J. Seneca is a member of the Society of Automotive Historians, the Organization of American Historians and the National Council on Public History. He lives in Glendora, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Michael J. Seneca
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 238
Bibliographic Info: 68 photos, tables, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010 [2003]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4592-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     v

Preface     1

1. An Unlikely Venue     3

2. Making Plans     19

3. The Founders’ Week Cup     39

4. A Charitable Event     57

5. The Second Annual Fairmount Park Race     77

6. Surpassing Vanderbilt     99

7. The Third Annual Fairmount Park Race     115

8. Controversy     133

9. The Fourth Annual Fairmount Park Race     151

10. Opposition     169

11. Conclusion     187

Appendix     191

Notes     203

Bibliography     215

Index     221

Book Reviews & Awards

Winner, Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot Award–Society of Automotive Historians
“a model of historical scholarship…a pioneering exploration of historical events…a well-written, well-researched and well-organized book with an excellent index and good bibliography…incredible detail…good history and a ‘good read’”—SAH Journal; “closes a gap in motor racing history…recommended”—The Automobile; “a lot of historic merit”—Hemmings Motor News; “superb in-depth examination of the behind-the-scenes…an excellent example of how automobile racing history should be written”—SpeedReaders; “an insider’s look at one of the early twentieth-century’s spectacular racing venues, replete with period photographs, records, statistics, and maps…greatly adds sports, social, and political history to Philadelphia”—Pennsylvania Heritage.