Meridian Speedway

Wichita, Kansas

National Championship Motorcycle Race - July 4, 1922

Photograph from ‘Motorcycle & Bicycle Illustrated’ Magazine

 

 

          Meridian Speedway was built on the site of the old Speedway Park racetrack just southwest of Wichita, Kansas in the late summer of 1921.  The land was described as being a quarter section owned by C. B. Garnet and leased for 25-years to the partnership of Harold R. Peterson and William H. Lassen.   The track might best be described as having been a 1˝ mile squared circle dirt racetrack.  Its covered grandstand was designed to seat 2,500 racing fans.  The first event held at this facility was the Kansas Wheat Exposition; a two-week long agricultural trade show that promoters predicted would attract a half-million people to Wichita in the fall of 1921.  Horse races were run on the racetrack the first week of the exposition with motorcycle races and automobile races the featured attractions during the second week.

http://winfield.50megs.com/Cowley/CarlEvans.jpg

Carl E. Evans

Meridian Speedway was owned by the partnership of Harold Reynolds “Harry” Peterson (1894-1945) and William Henry “Bill” Lassen (1897-1945) with Bill Lassen’s younger brother, Aldrich Henry “Buster” Lassen (1900-1924) and Hart Huraine Bowman (1893-1972) having minority interests.  Hart Bowman promoted the motorcycle races at the speedway.  Merle Warren put on the auto races in 1921 and Carl E. Evans took over as auto racing promoter in 1922.

Apparently, the speedway was not a financial success.  It was dismantled in December of 1923.

Today, the former fairgrounds site is a middle class residential neighborhood located well within the city limits of Wichita.

The motorcycle races known to have been contested at Meridian Speedway were:

 

Date

Feature Winner

From

Distance

Winning Motorcycle

October 5, 1921

John Seymour

Springfield, Massachusetts

18 miles

Indian

October 6, 1921

Ralph Hepburn

Wichita, Kansas

12 miles

Harley-Davidson

July 4, 1922

Ralph Hepburn

Los Angeles, California

300 miles

Indian

July 4, 1923

Curley Fredericks

Denver, Colorado

200 miles

Indian

 

Kansas Wheat Exposition - Meridian Speedway

Wichita, Kansas - October, 1921

Photograph from the Cossitt collection – Local History Section, Wichita Public Library

 

 

The automobile races known to have been contested at Meridian Speedway were:

 

Date

Feature Winner

From

Car Owner

From

Distance

Automobile

October 5, 1921

John A. Mais

Indianapolis, Indiana

John A. Mais

Indianapolis, Indiana

60 miles

Dodge

October 6, 1921

John Boling

Mounds, Oklahoma

C. L. Richards

Kansas City, Missouri

15 miles

Richards Special

October 7, 1921

 Postponed and apparently canceled due to cold weather

September 4, 1922

John A. Mais

Indianapolis, Indiana

John A. Mais

Indianapolis, Indiana

60 miles

Dodge Special

 

Kansas Wheat Exposition - Meridian Speedway, Wichita, Kansas

October, 1921

Photograph from the Cossitt collection – Local History Section, Wichita  Public Library

 

 

 

This drawing of the Meridian Speedway layout was published on page 10 of the September 18, 1921 issue of the Wichita Eagle newspaper.  North would be to the left side of this drawing.  Click your mouse on the drawing above to see an aerial photograph of Meridian Speedway published on page 2 of the June 25, 1922 issue of the Wichita Beacon newspaper.  That photograph was taken looking to the northeast.  Meridian is the street visible to the lower left of the racetrack while 23rd St. (later named Pawnee) can be seen at the lower right in that photo.

 

 

 

 

To Send E-mail to Bob Lawrence

 

 

To Find Links to Some Other Interesting Web Sites

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to:

Al White

 


 
 

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