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Kansas City-Smithville Race Track
Kansas City-Smithville Race Track
TitleKansas City-Smithville Race Track
DescriptionPostcard of the Kansas City-Smithville Race Track
Historical ArticleThe Kansas City-Smithville Race Track, eight running horses with their jockeys and the judges' stand are pictured at the old fairgrounds, on a postcard of about 1927.

Races, devoted mainly to harness horses, were held daily, except Mondays, during the season.

The small Clay County village was named for Humphrey and Nancy Smith, who came from New York state in 1824 with their seven children and built a water-powered mill on the Little Platte River, five miles north of the present city limits.

The race track was built in 1925 by a group of Kansas City and Clay County men, who formed an asociation and raised the money. Betting was illegal, but it was conducted by a $2 donation.

In 1928 new promoters took over the track, and running horses dominated. But before the season was over, the promoters left town and also left behind some bad debts. Another attempt the following year failed. The rural people were not as interested in running horses and the track was considered too far out to attract large crowds from Kansas City.

Later motor car and motorcycle races were held there. In the 1940s the large grandstand facing the track was razed.

Today a U.S. Corps of Engineers' dam costing more than $68 million impounds potential flood waters, controlling 213 square miles in the Platte River basin.

Large crowds of water sportsmen, (estimted at up to 80,000 on Decoration Day weekend) enjoy the huge lake. Highway I-435 and other major trafficways make the distance of the track no longer a problem.

The postcard was one of a series of 16 photographed by a Journal Post photographer. Leon Morton, who owned the general merchandise store in Smithville and Elmer Iden of the Mitchell- Iden drugstore, purchased the negatives and had 25,000 postcards made picturing the racing scene. They were sold for 2 cents each at Morton's and the drugstore. The Auburn Greeting Card Co. of Auburn, Ind., published the cards in black and white.

Kansas City Times
June 20, 1986

Sports Postcard Categories Special Collections

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectRacetracks
Kansas City-Smithville Race Track
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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