Monday, May 18, 2009

An era has ended in west suburban Cicero Illinois. The demolition of the old Sportsman's Park horse racing track. Cicero Illinois USA. May 2009.

The demolition of the Sportsman's Park Horse Racing Track. Cicero Illinois. May 2009.

I took this photo one evening in April of 2009. Yes folks, it's officially true.
Sportsman's Park horse racing track seen here along the east side of South Laramie Avenue, is finally meeting the wrecking ball after many years of inactivity.

I actually went to Sportsman's Park a handful of times with My family back in the 1970's and early 1980's when they were racing thoroughbred horses. Buggy races were popular here too.

By the 1990's, riverboat gambling and land based casinos in nearby Hammond and East Chicago Indiana, took away much of the gambling patronage here, and eventually Sportsman's Park was sold. For a while during the late 1990's and early 2000's, the track itself was rebuilt with high concrete curved walls and hosted auto racing under the new name Chicago Motor Speedway. It was unsucessful in the long run, and closed after the 2003 Season. There were many complaints from nearby residents about loud noise pollution wich proboubly doomed this old facility during the auto racing period.

Another historic era has ended in Cicero Illinois. Sportsman's Park...R.I.P

Thank You.
Eddie K.


Anonymous said...

And this could very well become the fate of Hawthorne, Maywood and Fairmount. The politicos in Springfield don't give a diddly damn if horse racing lives or dies in Illinois. In the meantime horse racing and breeding prospers in Indiana and Iowa.

Dennis said...

I was just at a restaurant in Ft Wright Kentucky...over the Ohio River near Cincinnati, and they had hundreds of pictures from horse tracks across the country. Our table just happened to be near several that were from Sportsmans Park....and obviously those photos showed much happier days from the place.

What ashame these old places are being torn down.

Eddie said...

I was too young to gamble and didn't really enjoy My visits to Sportsman's Park back during the 1970's and early 1980's. I was just a kid then, and later a teenager. I mostly watched older people dig this activity. The concession stand was overpriced too.

This place did have one redeeming quality for Me though, as it was located directly behind the Illinois Central Gulf RR Hawthorne Yard locomotive terminal. Back then I would see ICG yard and roadswitcher locomotives in the orange and white color scheme, as well as older units in the Illinois Central pre 1967 black and white color scheme with the green diamond logo, or occasionally...former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio locomotives acquired through the 1972 merger.

I didn't have My first camera yet, but I was already a local Chicago railfan at an early age.

Thank You.
Eddie K.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true railfan!