Friday, February 15, 2013

Snow Storm Forces Horse Racing Fans to Sleep at Bowie Race Track

Bowie Race Track, February 23, 1958, Baltimore Sun
February 15, 1958 (55 years ago today): Eighteen inches of snow fell on Bowie, causing a massive traffic jam, and forcing hundreds of horse racing fans to spend the night at the Bowie Race Track. Nearly 14,000 fans came to Bowie for the races despite the forecast for heavy snow. One foot of snow fell by the time the last race of the day was over around 5:00pm. Thousands of cars soon left the parking lot, and drivers found the country roads hard to navigate. Several of the lead cars weren't able to make it up slippery hills, stranding an estimated 3,000 cars behind them. A tractor-trailer overturned on Route 197 making matters worse. People waited in their cars for hours, and many ran out of gas. Cars were abandoned, and some racing fans walked as far as three miles back to the warmth of the clubhouse. Despite the fact that the races were over, heavy betting continued on games of craps, poker and gin rummy. Track officials estimated that 250 gallons of coffee and 6,000 to 8,000 sandwiches were given to the stranded fans. The Pennsylvania Railroad dispatched a special train to the track later that night, and 1,600 passengers were taken to Penn Station in Baltimore. Hundreds of fans spent the night at the race track, sleeping on couches, in the track's infirmary or anywhere else they could find to sleep. A second train came back to the race track the following morning to pick up more passengers.

The picture above can be purchased from The Baltimore Sun.  Click on the following link for more information.

5 comments:

  1. Wow, hard to imagine 14,000 fans on a normal weekend at Laurel or Pimlico. I dropped into Charles Town for my father's birthday at the beginning of this month and even with a nice buffet and warm, glass-enclosed seating, I doubt there a thousand folks in attendance.

    And the night before, it was so cold, they canceled the races.

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  2. Hi Abbot. Hope all is well. Someone made a similar comment on Facebook. It was a different time. Not only could the races attract 14,000 fans, but the fans came from as far away at New York City for the day. The results of the races back then were also published in newspapers across the country in lengthy articles. It's hard to imagine that people in Tacoma, Washington would be interested in horse racing in Bowie, Maryland, but apparently they were. The times have really changed.

    The Baltimore Sun has some great pictures of the horse facing fans, including this one that my wife really likes.

    In other news, I've recently attended ScrumMaster and Product Owner training, and I've started using software that you might have heard of called Rally.

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  3. Hundreds of fans spent the night at the race track, sleeping on couches, in the track's infirmary or anywhere else they could find to sleep. A second train came back to the race track the following morning to pick up more passengers.
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  4. As a spectator sport, Racehorse makes baseball seem fast. At racetracks, a race is run about every 30 minutes, and when it’s run, most people have to watch a big screen or TV monitor to actually see the action.

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  5. Looks interesting, ill be sure to check it out. Cheltenham races

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