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Alexandria Bay circuit, New York


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#1 HistoricMustang

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 23:54

During my effort to post over one million oval tracks in a row at the G.E.R.C.A. thread Doug Nye asked why no forgotten road circuits such as Alexandria Bay were being identified.

I took a look and believe to have narrowed down where the circuit was located.

But, low and behold, we need to know why during pre WWII the sports car racing was in Alexandria Bay and post WWII it move down the road to Watkins Glen.

So WHY?

Why did a successful race venture before the war move?

And, why Watkins Glen?

This could be the tale that makes movies?

Doug, Michael, Don, Jim and others? Why?

Henry :wave:

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#2 Cris

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 00:54

A-Bay's track location as well as the reasons for the race ending and the Watkins Glen race starting are detailed in both of Joel Finn's "American Road Racing" books.

Alexandria Bay's last race was in 1940. After that, many of its members committed themselves to the war effort in some way, shape, or form, as the country itself turned its attention to more serious matters around the globe.

The A-Bay races (especially the last one) definitely helped build road racing's momentum in the US.

Watkins Glen actually petitioned for a racing event post-War, thanks to a very forward-looking group of people led, of course, by Cameron Argetsinger.

This is a map of Alexandria Bay's course.

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Cris

#3 markpde

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 01:41

This is a current view of the most distinctive corner on the circuit - from Church Street back around into Market Street (see map above). The building on the turn looks old enough to have been there pre-1940, and its layout and location would explain the shape of the turn - like a question mark.

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Opposite view of the same corner:

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Mark :wave:

#4 markpde

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 19:04

The two views above are from maps.live.com - search for 'alexandria bay, ny' then centre the map over the circuit, click on 'Bird's eye' then follow the circuit around using Cris's map above. Then when you've 'learned' the circuit, click on 'Labels' to hide the labels (there's still a 'guide' top right), click on '+' to zoom in and you can 'fly' around the track. You'll need to screw your eyes up and imagine it as it was in the thirties, though - and be wary of the curve on Walton Street... ;)

Well done to Henry and Cris for following this up. :up: Still more to find out about, no doubt, but Doug should be suitably impressed! :)

Mark :wave:

#5 Cris

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 22:35

The famous turn in question. I have this labeled as Tom Dewart, driving the ex-Dancing Daughters, rebodied Collier Leonidis MG.

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I also have Dewart driving the MG in this photo with Heller in the Willys Special...a different year? I am too lazy to get up and get my copy of the Finn book right now, and the actual photos are upstairs in a box, even further beyond my Saturday afternoon-induced lethargic reach.

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Cris

#6 markpde

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 23:31

A view of the turn from the point of view of Cris's first photo:

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#7 markpde

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 23:41

Not sure if this has been covered on the G.E.R.C.A. thread, but evidently there was another Speedway near Alexandria Bay which functioned after the war - Edgewater International Speedway. I found this sad tale here:

Trooper Arthur L. Lacroix, 23, died on July 4, 1954 of injuries he sustained at the Edgewater International Speedway near Alexandria Bay. Trooper Lacroix, on patrol, stopped at the speedway to check on traffic conditions and observed a stock car overturned on the race course. As he went to the car to determine if the driver was injured, a wheel from another racer careened up an embankment and struck him in the chest and head. He was taken to E. J. Noble Hospital in Alexandria Bay and died in an ambulance while being transferred to a Watertown hospital for emergency surgery.

Tragic story. So where was Edgewater, then? Is it still there, or is there evidence of it, and what was its history?

#8 HistoricMustang

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 00:21

Originally posted by markpde
Not sure if this has been covered on the G.E.R.C.A. thread, but evidently there was another Speedway near Alexandria Bay which functioned after the war - Edgewater International Speedway. I found this sad tale here:

Trooper Arthur L. Lacroix, 23, died on July 4, 1954 of injuries he sustained at the Edgewater International Speedway near Alexandria Bay. Trooper Lacroix, on patrol, stopped at the speedway to check on traffic conditions and observed a stock car overturned on the race course. As he went to the car to determine if the driver was injured, a wheel from another racer careened up an embankment and struck him in the chest and head. He was taken to E. J. Noble Hospital in Alexandria Bay and died in an ambulance while being transferred to a Watertown hospital for emergency surgery.

Tragic story. So where was Edgewater, then? Is it still there, or is there evidence of it, and what was its history?


Not sure if it was called Edgewood or Edgewater but here she is.

Henry :wave:

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Not much left in the latest GE image. :down:

#9 markpde

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 00:38

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


Not sure if it was called Edgewood or Edgewater but here she is.

Henry :wave:

Not much left in the latest GE image. :down:

You're right, Henry, it's Edgewood, not Edgewater, just next to Alexandria Bay. Found it on the Bird's eye views and the outline of the track is still very much there - still with the pond and the trees in the middle - it's just a park now, with grass. Not neglected, though - very pleasant area. :)

#10 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 05:25

The IMRRC has some wonderful materials in its archives that include the Alexandria Bay events. I have always been wanting to use them since they go a good bit beyond what Joel Finn could include in his book in many ways. It is always different when you sit down and work with the original materials, of course. I kinow that the occasional article has been on Alexandria Bay, that it is a daunting thought to even think where to begin expanding on what the Reuter and Finn books have given us, but at the same time.....

#11 HistoricMustang

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 10:56

Henry :wave:

It is always good to read about these types of events that remember:

http://www.thousandi...s.com/Entry.pdf

#12 Darwin123

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 16:02

The location of the track was indeed Edgewood and not Edgewater. It was operated by Bud Hebert and George Clark, the owners of nearby Edgewood resort. This would have been about 1950 through '54. (In 1955 the site became a western theme town called Adventuretown which lasted until 1961.)

I remember this track well because my uncle, Dick Warner, raced there. I have numerous pictures of his car, number 57 "The Hot Tomato". His wife Betty raced in the Powderpuffs. Also Andy Rae (His car was "The Rustler" - so named because it was at one time confiscated by the police with a couple of stolen calves in the back) and his wife Evelyn. Don June drove number 117 and was considered the villain of drivers by our crowd because of his sometimes questionable tactics (though probably more just for the dramatic effect of having somebody to be the villain.)

I'm sure I would remember more if I got out the old photos. My father, a commercial artist, lettered several of the cars. I was only 6 to 10 during this time but I can still see, hear and smell those races as well as the mustard spattered debris beneath the stands where we kids sometimes foraged for dropped coins.