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Santa Fe Speedway memorial boulder - Willow Springs, IL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member adgorn
N 41° 43.441 W 087° 54.307
16T E 424716 N 4619529
Quick Description: Commemorative site with its 3 large boulders, inscribed with a brief history of the raceway.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 5/26/2019 12:45:42 PM
Waymark Code: WM10M57
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member wayfrog
Views: 0

Long Description:
"Former Site of Santa Fe Speedway 1953-1955"
"Santa Fe Speedway 1953-1995
Beneath this ground lies the spirit of Santa Fe Speedway, the action clay track. The racing playground to many." (more follows)

From the Midwest Racing Archives:
"For over 40 years 91st Street and Wolf Road in the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale was the site of one the most famous dirt tracks in America, Santa Fe Speedway. Actually the history of Santa Fe Speedway goes back to 1896 when Frederick Tiedt built and operated a multi-purpose facility which included in addition to a race track, a dance hall, beer garden, bowling alley and other refreshment stands.

In March 1999 the famous facility would fall to the wreck ball to make way for an upscale housing development. Santa Fe Speedway and the National Clay Track Championships are now just a fading memory. But to those many die-hard Chicago dirt track racing fans there will always be a very special place in their heart for both."

Fr (visit link)
"The first car races were held in the early 1920’s. In February 1953, Santa Fe Park Enterprises, Inc. was organized to promote and operate stock car racing. Shortly thereafter on March 1, 1953, track construction began. Using modern equipment and 1.5 million pounds of clay (180 truckloads) the race track was built along with construction of new bleachers, fences and other facilities needed for modern day auto racing. There were actually two tracks built, a quarter-mile track built inside a half-mile track. All work was completed in time for the first race event on May 31, 1953. In 1995, Santa Fe Speedway saw its last checkered flag. After several years, Howard’s children sold the 42 acre family property to a Developer. In March of 1999, the track and grandstand fell to the wrecking ball thus making way for a $70 million upscale housing development consisting of 37 single family homes and 129 Townhomes. Two of the neighborhood streets are named after the Speedway: Santa Fe Lane and Santa Fe Court. The Santa Fe Speedway was the place to be for exciting entertainment and brought joy to millions of fans during its 42 years of existence. A number of races were televised live by WGN TV with popular baseball announcer Jack Brickhouse handling the microphone. The famous radio commercial jingle went: “There’s only one speedway, it’s the track of clay, you ain’t seen nothing till you’ve been to the Santa Fe.” The Speedway will long be remembered by fans and racers alike, many of whom wanted to commemorate this important piece of racing history.

In March of 2012, Bob Behounek, a raceway enthusiast, approached the Mayor of Willow Springs, Alan Nowaczyk, and proposed creating a memorial to the Speedway. Much planning and fund raising took place and 20 months later, on October 26, 2013 the formal dedication of the permanent memorial was held at the site of the former Speedway at 91st street and Wolf Road. It was a beautiful fall day with 350+ racing enthusiasts in attendance. A portion of 91st street was closed to allow room for the many tents and people. The dedication event included a ribbon cutting of the 6 ton granite memorial boulder. There were 3 race cars, 2 racing motorcycles, many original track signs, pictures and memorabilia brought by both individuals and the Flagg Creek Heritage Museum. The largest piece was the actual weathered billboard sign that sat atop a building at I-55 and Wolf Road. Also presented was a satellite picture of the Speedway with an overlay of the homes and townhomes so one could appreciate where the race track was actually located. Many former racers and fans shared their favorite memories of the track. Thanks go to the many individuals and companies who provided their time, expertise and materials that made this such a fantastic day."

Attending the track with my dad is a very distant memory for me.
County: Cook

Historical Society: Flagg Creek Heritage Museum

Dedication Date: 10/26/2013

Location: 91st Street and Wolf Road in the Chicago suburb of Willow Springs

Website: [Web Link]

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