Visioning Old Latonia Race Track
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
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