The First Automobile Races Run in Cowley County, Kansas?


If an automobile race is defined as being a speed contest between two, or more, automobiles over a defined course for a predetermined distance, then the earliest known automobile races to be run in Cowley County, Kansas took place on Labor Day afternoon, September 4, 1905 on the ˝-mile Athletic Park racetrack located between the west end of West Adams Street and the east bank of the Arkansas River on the west side of Arkansas City, Kansas.  On that date, two 40-horse power Cadillac automobiles, both owned by the Cadillac Automobile Company in Kansas City and driven by C. Hogg and ______ Lippindusky, competed in just such a contest.  Both of these drivers were employed by the Cadillac Automobile Company and traveled around the country competing in just such exhibitions.  One of the Cadillac’s was only slightly stripped down while the other was stripped down clear to the frame, making it the lighter of the two competitors and it was probably this car that won the races on this afternoon.

Three different automobile races were run on this afternoon.  One was for one mile, one was for two miles with the final race covering five miles in 7:30.25.  The winner’s name of each race was not given and the “times were not as fast as they could have been due to the racetrack not being in the best shape for automobile racing.”  Even so, a large, enthusiast crowd, estimated to be around 5,000, turned out for these races.

The races were described in the local newspaper as being “the finest ever seen here” which might indicate that they were not necessarily the first automobile races to ever be run there.  The newspaper reporter apparently could not resist getting in one dig at the otherwise popular event:


“The general opinion is that the racing of machines is less exciting to the average person than other kinds of sport.  Most of those who expressed their opinions seem to prefer horse racing.”


If you know anything more about any automobile races that were held at Athletic Park in Arkansas City, Kansas, please contact Bob Lawrence at:  sprintguy @