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Candler Field - Atlanta, Georgia


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#1 HistoricMustang

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 21:08

Oddly, a search did not produce a thread on this track that currently sits under the Atlanta - Fulton County Airport. I do remember it has been mentioned in other threads.

Here is a 1938 photograph from the University of Georgia archives.

Let us please add more and and let Terry work his Google magic.

Henry

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#2 David M. Kane

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 23:24

I believe Candler is one of the main Coco-Cola families.

#3 MPea3

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 00:00

http://forums.autosp... and motordrome

I usually see it referenced as the Atlanta Motordrome and not Chandler Field. Chandler Field was the original name for the airport. Somewhere on the UGA website there's an aerial photo of the track from before the airport construction began.

Parts of the south banking was still visible during takeoff until the mid-70s when the expansion of the airport took place.

#4 MPea3

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 00:14

http://www.silhouet....s/atlantam.html

#5 Terry Walker

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 12:41

I can't do much with this one. It looks like the whole lot is buried under runways and taxiways. A wider pic showing more of the surrounding countryside would help pin down the location, but I don't have enough to go on.

#6 MPea3

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 12:50

Originally posted by Terry Walker
I can't do much with this one. It looks like the whole lot is buried under runways and taxiways. A wider pic showing more of the surrounding countryside would help pin down the location, but I don't have enough to go on.


Terry,

Check the photos in the thread I link to in my post 3 above and you can get a better idea of the track/runway configuration, especially comparing today's google images to the overhead view from the 60's. There's been one runway added on the south end of the airport, and a new terminal was added midfield, but otherwise the runways are the same.

#7 MPea3

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 13:06

http://www.nasm.si.e...fm?webID=208.p3

#8 Terry Walker

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 14:12

I was looking at the big airport!

Even so, now that I've got Fulton County airport up, there aren't any landmarks on the old pic to pin down the circuit. This is my best guess. If I'm right, it's possible some of the track is in the trees. But I think this try might be wrong. I think the scale of the b+w pic is too big for the modern one underneath.


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#9 fvebr

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 08:50

Ermmm... according to this site...

http://ngeorgia.com/...d_Candler_Field

This track was not situated at(Now) FULTON but at HARTSFIELD airport,

So terry's 1st guess seems to be the right one...


Regards

#10 MPea3

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:14

fvebr is correct. A couple of things need to a corrected here as there seems to be some confusion. First, Chandler Field was the original name for what is now Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Second, Chandler Field was built on the land originally used by the Atlanta Motordrome. Third, that I can tell, the Atlanta Motordrome was never called Chandler Field. Last, Fulton County Airport (aka "Charlie Brown Airport") is a small airport just to the west of downtown atlanta while Hartsfield-Jackson is south of Atlanta in Hapeville, GA.

#11 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 13:13

The construction of the new runways, taxiways, terminals, and support facilities seem to have erased any trace of the motordrome at ATL -- now Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l, previously Atlanta/Hartsfield Airport and prior to that Chandler Field. You have to find older aerial photos to see traces of the track on the airport complex.

#12 HistoricMustang

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 20:45

Originally posted by MPea3
fvebr is correct. A couple of things need to a corrected here as there seems to be some confusion. First, Chandler Field was the original name for what is now Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Second, Chandler Field was built on the land originally used by the Atlanta Motordrome. Third, that I can tell, the Atlanta Motordrome was never called Chandler Field. Last, Fulton County Airport (aka "Charlie Brown Airport") is a small airport just to the west of downtown atlanta while Hartsfield-Jackson is south of Atlanta in Hapeville, GA.


Heavens, are we saying the little lady at the Chamber of Commerce that puts the web site together is wrong? :rolleyes:

http://www.sfcoc.org/about/history.asp

#13 MPea3

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 21:09

Well there are two problems with her story as she tells it.

First, there is no shortage of race results and other reference to the track as the Atlanta Motordrome, but the reference to the track as "Chandler Field" in the link you provide is the only reference I've ever seen. Second, the track was abandoned well before 1923. I believe there are no race results from the Motordrome after 1910.

Now bear in mind, Asa Chandler DID build the Motordrome, and the airport WAS named after him, so perhaps that may explain the confusion, but no, Chandler Field was the name of the airport, not the track.

So unless there exists some credible source from prior to the building of the airport which differs from what I've said, then yes she's wrong.

#14 fvebr

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:42

Looks like she is wrong...

...As i found many sites around Hartfield confirming the presence of that track before the extensions were made...
...Even from the official site of Hartfield...And from old pilots site (unfortunately the pics from those sites don't bring any new informations)

#15 MPea3

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 01:37

While everything I've seen before says that the Motordrome didn't race after 1910, I've today found race results in Atlanta Constitution archives as far forward as 1917. It appear they're all some sort of "outlaw" races, but there are many mentions in the paper about racing. Motorcycles seem to have dominated the racing there in the last couple of years however.

#16 93hotel

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 13:24

A little history, Asa "Candler" did build and operate the racetrack but gave up on it early due to low revenues. I believe the site was used unofficially until the late teens when two of Asa's grandchildren, Davies Owens and Henry Heinz took over responsibility for the property for personal use. Henry raced motorcycles and Davies flew planes. The racetrack was kind of a "rich kid" playground. Remember, the major for of transportation at this time was by rail. Flying rapidly became more popular and the site became an airport with a track.

Asa has spent the money to run a sewer and trolly from downtown to nearby Ft. Macpherson Army Base, ironically land he sold to the USA while he was Mayor. He extended the trolly to the racetrack in hopes that it would bring the fans.

In 1923, then Mayor Hartfield recognized the need for a regional airport and offered to lease the property. Out went the grandkids and if you have ever passed through our city, you can see the results. Atlanta became a reigional airmail hub which led to passenger traffic. A small footnote here, one grandkids, Davies Owens became one of the original Delta Airline pilots. (I hope he got his pension!)

I don't think official records were kept after the first few years, I am curious to see if either grandkids were listed in results!

Herb

#17 MPea3

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 13:52

Originally posted by 93hotel
I believe the site was used unofficially until the late teens when two of Asa's grandchildren, Davies Owens and Henry Heinz took over responsibility for the property for personal use.


Welcome to TNF! Good to have another Atlantan on board. Check your PMs when you have a chance.

I don't think the racing there was completely unofficial. As mentioned in my post above, there are numerous mentions in the AJC archives as to racing, new promoters, and even a scathing piece saying that the paying ticket holders should be upset with the racing. This extends up into the late teens before all mention of the Motordrome as a racing facility ends.

I've really got to spend more time in the AJC archives and get all of this sorted out...

#18 MPea3

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 14:07

A photograph of the Atlanta Airport in 1946. Is that a hint of the old banking in the background sweeping around?

http://collections.a...o...BOX=1&REC=8

#19 jdanton

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 15:54

I think there was an article in old Atlanta Motor Speedway program I have about this track. I'll see if I can dig it up.

Something I found in the interim.

http://www.coca-cola...a-cola-cup.html





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#20 MPea3

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 13:08

A nice shot from overhead. The info with the photograph says it's from 1920, but whenever it was taken, the grandstands are already gone.

http://collections.a...o...BOX=1&REC=1

#21 MPea3

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 00:05

And another.

http://collections.a...o...BOX=1&REC=4

#22 Reed32

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 04:49

And another.

http://collections.a...o...BOX=1&REC=4


This track is certainly an enigma in Georgia racing for our area historians. Early on, several people believed it had actually been shaped like Indianapolis, rather than the standard oval layout that actually existed. Only in the last year have we been able to come across actual photos of racing action on the track. I believe a lot of answers about it may lie in Asa Candler's papers, which are housed at the Emory University Library. One of these days I'll get down there and rifle through them.

I had always read that the early races were a financial disaster. But judging from the few race day photos I've found, the stands appeared to be packed, and reports from the New York Times said the turn out and response was great.

I've seen the same reports that you have regarding motorcycle racing, Mark. I just don't know if they're referring to the same track. Mike Bell and I have discussed it at length, and we're wondering if another track didn't pick up the "Motordrome" name. The stories I read from around 1917 seemed to indicate night time events in town, although I could be mistaken.

I've seen the track referred to as the Atlanta Speedway, most blatently on photo post cards that I've found for the track. I've also seen it referred to as the Atlanta Motordrome (my personal preference, it just sounds classy). Only in later items, post 1920, have I seen it referred to as "Candler Field". I think that name came more for the airfield (incidentally, a group of aviation enthusiasts south of Atlanta have been working on a recreation of Candler Field as an area attraction, complete with vintage aircraft. They have a website, but I don't have the address handy at the moment).

But back to the racing side......I've often wondered if the deaths of T.B. Dial and Al Livingstone, both in the initial year of the track's operation, didn't play into the track's demise. Candler was very much a public person, and maybe he didn't want to be associated with a track that claimed two lives in the span of five months.

Again, I think the answers lie in Candler's papers. Remember, he was also one of the founding fathers of the Atlanta Automobile Association, so for him to just give up on the track within two years of it being constructed just doesn't make a lot of sense.

But, until we can get a chance to go through his papers, it's likely we won't know.

Mark, those photos are great. We need all we can get to learn as much as we can about the track.

-Brandon

#23 HistoricMustang

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 09:31

Hold onto your boot straps gentlemen.

Go to same Atlanta History Center site and type "Speedway" or "Stock Car Racing" in the advanced search feature.

Henry :wave:

#24 Graham Clayton

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 04:22

Some excellent information and photos here:

http://www.nascar.co...motordrome.html