Turn One, Cowley County Fairgrounds Racetrack, Winfield, Kansas

     This is a photograph of a painting by an unknown artist from the perspective of just outside of turn one of the racetrack looking north, northwest across the fairgrounds.  It is dated 1888 and provides the oldest known view of the fairgrounds and racetrack.  The grandstand shown here was built between 1885 and 1888 and had a capacity of 3,200.  It was torn down in early 1928 and the lumber used to build horse and dairy barns on the fairgrounds, to the northwest of the grandstand site.

     Click your mouse on the picture above to view a photograph taken July 23, 1930 from near the same spot as depicted in the painting.  It shows the grandstand that was completed in July of 1928 at a cost of $35,000 and with a capacity of 5,000.  That grandstand remains there today Cowley County Historical Society collection

 

Cowley County Fairgrounds, Winfield, Kansas

     This is the oldest known actual photograph of the Cowley County Fairgrounds and racetrack.  Although it is unknown just when this photograph was taken, it was found on a postcard that had been postmarked in 1910.  It was taken looking to the northeast from the top of a smoke stack at Winfield's electricity generating plant. Close examination of the original photograph shows that white spot in the doorway of the barn in the center of this photo is two small girls wearing white dresses and standing next to each other Bob Lawrence collection

 

Cowley County Fairgrounds, Winfield, Kansas

     The above aerial photograph, taken in 1993, shows a number of interesting features about the facility.  To help get your directions, due north would be to the top of the photo.  The fairgrounds are inside the Winfield city limits on the west edge of town accounting for the houses which can be seen at right.  As you can see, the racetrack was very narrow.  It is only 40 feet wide except for the front straight-away which was 80 feet wide, thus making passing difficult.

     The baseball diamond, visible off the number three turn, was there when cars raced on this racetrack as was the one in the infield.  The ball field off the back straight-away was added after auto racing ceased here in 1971.

     The small building just north of the grandstand is a cinder block restroom also added after 1971 but washed away in a flood in November of 1998.

     The rodeo arena in front of the grandstand is visible in a number of photographs of the auto racing on this website.

     Remnants of a fifth mile racetrack can also be in the infield but that track was also added after cars stopped racing on the larger race track and the smaller racetrack, now, no longer exists.  The grove of trees, at the bottom of the picture, is the Pecan Grove mentioned in various newspaper accounts of races at Winfield.  Race crewmen had to retrieve more than one errant wheel from the Pecan Grove.

     The smoke stack at the Winfield electric plant can be seen as a dark spot on top of the building in the lower left hand corner of the photo above.  An earlier smoke stack at that same spot was the vantage point from which the photograph above this one was taken.

     Winfield's 14th Street is visible where it passes east and west just to the north of the Pecan Grove.  A Missouri Pacific railroad track ran parallel to 14th Street between the street and the racetrack when cars raced there but it had been removed before this photo was taken.

     U. S. Highway 160 (Winfield's Ninth Street) can be seen at the very top of the photo above.

     The Walnut River passes by the fairgrounds just outside the above photo to the west and to the south.

     Click your mouse HERE to view another aerial photograph which looks to the southwest across the fairgrounds.  It one was taken sometime between 1929 and 1944.

 

 

 

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