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Home Park Race Track


Home Park Boulevard and Clough Street

From 1899 to 1906, the area bounded by Kimball, Reber, Fletcher and Campbell was the site of Home Park Race Track, a half-mile oval that made Waterloo famous in horse racing circles throughout the Midwest.

The land, track, grandstand, stalls and fences were financed through the sale of shares in the Home Park Driving Association. The track was built on half of an 80-acre site purchased for $9,800. The east half of the tract was platted as the residential Home Park Addition. Streets in the Addition (slough, Campbell, Kingsley, Hartman, Kimball, etc.) were named after principal stockholders in the Association. ,The west half of the tract was set aside for the track itself and adjoining grounds.

Trotting, pacing and running events were featured at Home Park, which held its first meet July 4-6, 1899. The grandstand was 150 feet long, with seating for 2,500 spectators. Crowds estimated at from 2,000 to 4,000 attended the inaugural meet, with many persons crowding the infield or lining the fence.

Home Park witnessed its first automobile race in 1902, with Lou Witry winning in a car he designed and built at Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company. Witry stopped his car after the first lap to make repairs. The three other cars all passed Witry but he came back to win the five- mile event by a lap. Automobile races were a novelty attraction at Home Park for several years.

Home Park was considered the fastest half-mile track in Iowa, and one of the most popular. An attendance record of 11,804 was set on July 4, 1906. This was topped the following September 3, Labor Day, by a crowd estimated at 20,000.

This proved to be Home Park Race Track's last event. The city's growth had made real estate sales more profitable than racing. The Association closed the track in 1907 and divided Home Park into 196 lots. These were sold at auction in 1908 for prices ranging from $225 to $425.

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Last updated Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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