Our family recently spent a long weekend in Cincinnati, only minutes away from one of the scenes in Yours in a Hurry at Latonia Race Track. I was disappointed that a shopping center now stands in the original location. But I found a website, Northern Kentucky Views Presents, with great photographs of the old track. Latonia is outside Covington, Kentucky, which retains much of its early 20th century flavor (photo below)..
The popular horse racing track opened in 1883, and was once regarded as among the United States' top sites for racing, with over 100,000 visitors annually. Jockey Eddie Arcaro got his start there. Over time, highlights included Kentucky Derby champions and silent film stars. A 1912 motion picture was even made by Independent Motion Picture Co. titled Winning the Latonia Derby.
The scene in our story occurs at the only recorded air meet to be held at Latonia in November 1909. Glenn Curtiss, and other early flyers such as Charles Willard and Roy Knabenshue, were present, and, in our story, Cromwell Dixon, then a popular aeronaut. The meet was small, but important, as discussions there led to plans for the first American international aviation meet. Cincinnati was in contention as a site, but the meet would eventually be held in January 1910 at Dominguez Field, Los Angeles instead.
Latonia Race Track closed its doors during the Great Depression, with its last race held on July 29, 1939. The facility was dismantled during World War II. Today the property is the site of the Latonia Shopping Center. In 1959, a new race operation opened in Florence, Kentucky, about 10 miles south of the original Latonia site and retained the Latonia name. However, it changed its name to turfway Park in 1986.
When we got to the shopping center, my son asked, "Don't you want to go see the new track?" I told him it wasn't the race track as much as the memory of what happened there. I wanted to remember the city and what it looked like when my characters were here. I was able to do that through the quaint Covington architecture, and the sepia photos from the Northern Kentucky Views website.
Are there special destination places do you remember that no longer exist?
Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latonia_Race_Track
In our story, Anna Hartle goes to San Antonio with the owner of the real estate agency, Joseph Cowell, to visit a successful developer and get some ideas about marketing property in larger developments. It turns out to be a job interview for Anna who is ready for a change. She isn't sure she'll like Texas before she visits San Antonio, but accepts the job and moves to the beautiful city. I hadn't been to San Antonio for years and decided to visit some of the places I'd read and wrote about, and look for historical reminders of her time.
Anna's first site visit is at Alamo Heights, still a haven of beautiful bungalows and two story homes. Most have been updated, but are still quaint and reflect their original character. Newer, larger homes are on side streets. It's a quiet place with lovely parks, and developer H. C. Thorman would be proud.
In the 1930 census Anna was living with her second spouse, Dr. Charles Petry, on Fredericksburg Road. Unfortunately, the address where she lived is now a commercial area and part of San Antonio's suburban sprawl. A four lane highway divides a street with no trace of the nice homes which evidently once stood there. and business establishments have seen better days.
Downtown San Antonio
I'm certain that Anna would have appreciated the majestic red structure that serves as the Bexar County Courthouse. The 1896 Romanesque building was built with native Texas granite and red sandstone. She would have gotten her marriage license there, and her death certificate is there, too.
Some commercial buildings are empty and now house social service agencies and other organizations as businesses gravitated toward the Market Square or the more touristy area near the Alamo.
The River Walk is San Antonio's jewel. I suppose Anna watched it develop. After many floods and attempts over time to improve the waterway, the potential for the area was realized in 1939 when the River Project broke ground.
I can understand Anna's love of San Antonio. The population in 1915 when she arrived was about 100,000, a small enough community compared to Los Angeles that she could more easily start over. My only regret is that I didn't find out about her sooner—that only my grandfather, Purl, ever mentioned her. But, that was probably her wish. She passed away in 1962 and is buried in San Antonio's Sunset Memorial Park.
History of the Bexar County Courthouse by Sylvia Ann Santos https://www.bexar.org/DocumentCenter/View/4102