Shrewsbury Trotting and Driving Association’s track spread out on borough’s north side

Why the Shrewsbury Trotting and Driving Association collapsed and the track closed is not fully known. Some sources cite a fatal accident on the track and the resulting decline in enthusiasm for the sport. Known as the Shrewsbury Driving Park, the track closed c. 1914. Courtesy of Bob Ketenheim's book Images of America Around Shrewsbury

The York Fairgrounds was not the only such track for harness racing in York County, Pa. This track, north of Shrewsbury, closed about 100 years ago. But in its day, it was a coming-together place for that part of southern York County. Harness racing continues at the York Fairgrounds – York Expo Center – oval to this day. Also of interest: Tour de York? Wheelmen raced around York Fair’s track.

A Facebook friend, Jeff Rohrbaugh, asked some questions about York County’s past that I didn’t immediately know.

“Did you ever see any pics of the Shrewsbury Race Track?”  he wrote. “Also, any information as to the exact location?”

I turned to Bob Ketenheim’s “Around Shrewsbury” for answers. And there they were.

Three photos of the track, with caption information about the old raceway north of Shrewsbury.

It’s not surprising that there’d be interest in an old horse racing track. Hanover Shoe Farms became world renowned in producing standardbreds about a decade after the Shrewsbury track closed.

Horse farms and breeding operations have dotted southern York County for years. For example, Pin Oak Farm produced 1992 Kentucky Derby winner Lil E. Tee. Smarty Jones has spent time in York County.

Smarty Jones, 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness champ, has spent time in his stud career  in York County.

So here are two more photos of the Shrewsbury Trotting and Driving Association’s track … .

 

In 1903, the Shrewsbury Trotting and Driving Association began racing at the newly constructed trac int he northern part of town. The association was formed by several local businessmen who met at the Shrewsbury Hotel. The reacetrack was located on the west side of North Main Street, near the present site of the Assembly of God Church. Courtesy of Bob Ketenheim's book Images of America Around Shrewsbury

The track opened in 1903. It operated on the west side of North Main Street, near the present site of the Assembly of God Church. 

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Harness racing was a popular pastime om Shrewsbury. Because of the size of the large track, the spacious infield provided room for many outdoor activities. The infield included a baseball field, a picnic area and a shooting range. Courtesy of Bob Ketenheim's book Images of America Around Shrewsbury

The track was so long that an infield provided room for baseball, picnicking and – this is interesting – a shooting range. It’s not exactly know why the Shrewsbury Trotting and Driving Association – and its track – folded. ‘Some sources cite a fatal accident on the track and the resulting decline in enthusiasm for the sport,’ Ketenheim wrote. 

Also of interest:

– Shrewsbury: Home to well-known people, but transportation has defined the town

These YorkTownSquare posts refer to Bob Ketenheim’s books.

 

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.

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