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1920s Chicago car racing


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#1 boynton2222

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 11:36

My father O.G. Temme was President of the Race Drivers Association in 1920 in Chicago. He bought an old polo field on the southside and turned it into a dirt race track. He also owned Temme Auto Springs and North Loop Garage. My mother was a race driver, who drove Car No. 16 from the Indy races. They met and married. I would appreciate any photos or info on this era in car races. He was a personal friend of Barney Oldfield. Please help if you can. :wave:

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#2 xkssFrankOpalka

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 03:27

I remember Temme Spring, a company with a long history in the Chicago area

#3 boynton2222

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 08:23

Oh, please tell me what you remember about Temme Spring. Are you from Chicago? Thank you so much for replying to my thread.

#4 Frank S

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 16:26

If you haven't already asked there,
http://groups.yahoo..../RacingHistory/
is likely to be a place to find answers to your queries.

--
Frank S

#5 boynton2222

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 16:31

Frank,

Please tell me what you remember about Temme Springs. I was 12 when my father died, so I don't have a lot of memory on it.

Okay?

Regards,

Joane Temme Smith

#6 Don Radbruch

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 17:07

I have a lot of data and photos on 1920s racing but the track you mentioned is new to me. The closest I have is a Northshore Polo Grounds, a half mile dirt track that held one race on July 6, 1924. Could this perhaps be the track that your dad built even though it sounds like it is on the wrong side of Chicago.

I am very intersted in your mother driivng the "#16 Indy" car.

If you would like to contact me directly maybe we can come up with some more information on this interesting chunk of racing history

Don Radbruch
radbruch@sandpoint.net

#7 Henk

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 21:05

Joane - Already in 1910, Oliver G. Temme was engaged in the organization of motor sports events. In that year the Chicago Motor Club organized for the first time the ‘National Stock Chassis Road Races’ in Elgin. A contemporary newspaper article mentions his name in the list of officials who had been selected to handle the races; his task is indicated as ‘assistant starter’.

I can send you the article by e-mail, if you are interested.

The unique collection of historic photographs from the ‘Chicago Daily News’ gives an excellent impression of the Chicago automobile-racing scene between 1900 and 1920.
See: http://memory.loc.go...ml/cdnhome.html

use the subject index; for example:
http://memory.loc.go...Subjects19.html
click, for example, ‘Automobile racing--1910-1919’ and you can view hundreds of period photos.

You may also find photos of Barney Oldfield; :) for example this one:
http://memory.loc.go...031/s003118.jpg

For the history of the Elgin Road Races, see:
http://www.state.il....tory/Apr041.pdf

#8 Jim Thurman

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 21:22

Originally posted by boynton2222
My father O.G. Temme was President of the Race Drivers Association in 1920 in Chicago. He bought an old polo field on the southside and turned it into a dirt race track. He also owned Temme Auto Springs and North Loop Garage. My mother was a race driver, who drove Car No. 16 from the Indy races. They met and married. I would appreciate any photos or info on this era in car races. He was a personal friend of Barney Oldfield. Please help if you can. :wave:


Allan E. Brown's "The History of America's Speedways - Past & Present" has this listing in the Illinois chapter:

North Shore Polo Grounds - Chicago - 1/2 mile dirt oval (7/06/24)


So, at least a lead. Are you where you can check the Chicago Public Libraries for microfilm or CDs of the newspapers from the time? If so, go to late June and early July 1924 and look for articles.

#9 boynton2222

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 21:37

Henk,

Wow! Thanks for the info. Yes, I have checked out the Memory by the Chicago Daily News hoping to catch a pix of my mom in car no.16, or my dad. I will check out the other things you suggested. You have no idea how much this means to me. I am in Chicago, but unfortunately I'm wheelchair bound and can't get to the library, so I'm using the internet that my son got for me. Again thank you very much.

Joane
:lol:

#10 boynton2222

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 21:41

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I am very interested in the article and if you would be kind enough to email it to me - I would be grateful.

Joane

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 22:12

I wonder if Buford's dad would have something on this?

The reason I suggest this:

Originally posted by Buford
Well I mentioned this once before. My father was 13 years old and on his own. It was the dead of winter. There were no jobs. Every day a couple hundred guys would surround a construction site, the only job going. They were hoping somebody would get killed and they would get the job. This went on for weeks. The numbers dwindled. One morning early, it was well below zero. There were only two guys out there. My dad, and another guy only slightly older. They were freezing. They discussed their dreams. My dad told the other guy he dreamed of getting a car some day. The other guy said he dreamed of becoming a pilot some day.

The foreman of the job took pity on the two frozen kids and hired them. My dad survived and did some day get a car, including running factory supported stock car teams in the 1950s and 1960s. And his two sons became champion race car drivers. And the other guy survived too and did become a pilot. In fact a pretty famous one too. He became the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. His name was Charles Lindburgh.


His father was around racing in the Chicago area at least in the early thirties... he's 92 now, I think.

#12 boynton2222

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 22:28

Great - do you know how I could contact him?

Thank you for the info.

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 23:22

Oh, he'll find you...

#14 Buford

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 00:20

Actually no. They moved to the Chicago area at the start of WWII. They had their own team in the 1950s and 1960s. Prior to WWII they were in Springfield which is a 4 hour drive south (today). That is where he was involved in some racing in the 20s and 30s but they had no contact with racing in the Chicago area until the late 1940s.

#15 xkssFrankOpalka

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 14:39

Joane, I was surprised to hear of Temme Spring. They were a well known sping outfit on the south side of Chicago. I was up north so didnt have much contact with them. Only people of a certain age would remember.

#16 boynton2222

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 17:52

Hello,

From what I was told, my dad, Oliver Temme used to specialize in "weight jacking" the race cars so they would be safer. His place at that time was at 7400 S. Southwest Highway in Chicago.

Thanks for your reply,

Joane Temme Smith

#17 Michael Ferner

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 20:35

I have a lot of data and photos on 1920s racing but the track you mentioned is new to me. The closest I have is a Northshore Polo Grounds, a half mile dirt track that held one race on July 6, 1924. Could this perhaps be the track that your dad built even though it sounds like it is on the wrong side of Chicago.

I am very intersted in your mother driivng the "#16 Indy" car.

If you would like to contact me directly maybe we can come up with some more information on this interesting chunk of racing history

Don Radbruch
radbruch@sandpoint.net

Allan E. Brown's "The History of America's Speedways - Past & Present" has this listing in the Illinois chapter:

North Shore Polo Grounds - Chicago - 1/2 mile dirt oval (7/06/24)


So, at least a lead. Are you where you can check the Chicago Public Libraries for microfilm or CDs of the newspapers from the time? If so, go to late June and early July 1924 and look for articles.


North Shore Speedway, sometimes refered to as the North Shore Polo Field, North Shore Polo Club Speedway or track or even North Shore Polo Grounds Speedway, was located at Lincoln and Peterson Avenue, just south of Evanston. I'm not sure of the exact location, but there are two parks nearby today, Mather Park and Hollywood Park, maybe that's a lead. The track was in operation for three years at least, 1923 to '25. It was basically the "home track" of the United Race Drivers Association, mentioned by Joane in the OP and the club of which Oliver Temme was president. URDA also raced at the Hawthorne horse track in Cicero.

I have the following meetings for North Shore Speedway, main event distance and winner:

1923, Sep 30, 25 miles, Cliff Woodbury (Frontenac?)
1923, Nov 4, ??, Fuzzy Davidson (Frontenac)???
1924, May 18, 15 miles, Esthan Wenneston (Nelson Bros./Frontenac), 19'10"
1924, May 30, 50 miles, Curley Young (Young/Ford), 1:03'40"
1924, Jun 15, 15 miles, main event postponed to Jul 4
1924, Jul 4, 15 miles, Cliff Woodbury (Frontenac), 19'18"
1924, Jul 5, 15 miles, Cliff Woodbury (Frontenac), 19'04"
1924, Jul 6, 15 miles, George Beck (Bernbach=Frontenac), 19'52"
1924, Jul 20, 10 miles, George Beck (Bernbach=Frontenac), 12'18.8"
1924, Aug 17, 15 miles, Cliff Woodbury (Frontenac), 18'17.2"
1924, Sep 21, 10 miles, Cliff Woodbury (Frontenac?)
1924, Oct 5, 15 miles, Esthan Wenneston (Nelson Bros./Frontenac), 19'22"
1924, Oct 26, 15 miles, Sonny Talamont (Talamont/Frontenac*), 18'20"
1925, May 10, 15 miles, Les Allen (MDS=Clemons/Chrysler), 18'57.4"
1925, Jun 14, 15 miles, Cliff Woodbury (Frontenac), 17'00.2"

* Talamont's car was usually powered by a Rajo engine those days, but the report has him in a Fronty-Ford - maybe he drove someone else's car.

An article in early 1924 mentioned that URDA had "approved" 14 races at North Shore, so I may have missed a few, or maybe they were rained out. Crowds were good, sometimes over 10,000. Never found any mention of track records, so maybe they never ran any time trials, although they were previewed at least once. Other famous names to appear here were Gus Schrader, Sig Haugdahl, Fred Horey, Joe Russo, Percy Ford, B. Cummings (possibly Bill's dad), Al Cotey, Dutch Baumann etc.

Edited by Michael Ferner, 01 May 2012 - 20:45.


#18 carl s

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:08

Chicagoland Racing History

North Shore Polo Fields:
http://www.kalracing...o_scrapbook.htm

#19 Graham Clayton

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:41

Slightly off-topic, but Oliver Temme also made a patent application for an adjustable automobile bumper:

http://www.google.co...s/US1539884.pdf