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Does anyone know where the old S. Main Drive-In was? It apparently had a small kiddie park underneath the screen. My brother and I have been discussing where it was located. McLendon Tri-Plex is all I remember. Good memories guys!

On the old Bob Bailey site there are photos of the South Main Amusement Park. I'm guessing it was adjacent to the South Main drive-in because you can see an outdoor theater marquee in the background of some of the shots.

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I found an pic I took of Kiddie Wonderland in 1986, I think it was in the process of being taken down....

Yeah that photo is from 1977! This is the only other Phil I could come up with. Here's some names from the past

Speaking of the Astroworld boundaries, I still remember when we kids as a group would run and get a ride on the train that went around Astroworld. On ocassion we could see (or bust) other older teens

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On the old Bob Bailey site there are photos of the South Main Amusement Park. I'm guessing it was adjacent to the South Main drive-in because you can see an outdoor theater marquee in the background of some of the shots.

DriveIns.Com has a photo of the South Main Drive-In. All it says is that it was located on

Old Fort Bend Road.

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I think that was Billy Wade. I could be wrong. I used to go there very often. He was one of my favorites.

Actually Billy Wade was the best at Meyer Speedway.Another Billy, Billy Griswold was pretty much unbeatable at Playland. The car owner was Johnny Reiff I worked for Johnny & often drove the car when the races were moved to Meyer after Blackie Lothringer's crash which sent him into the spectator stands at Playland.

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I think that was Billy Wade. I could be wrong. I used to go there very often. He was one of my favorites.

Actually Billy Wade was unbeatable at Meyer Speedway which was a 1/2 mile track. Another Billy, Billy Griswold was the man to beat at Playland Park. The car owner was Johnny Reiff, who I worked for and later drove his car when Griswold retired.Playland was a 1/8th mile track. The big names at Meyer Speedway other than Wade were M.J.Burton, Bill Blumerich, Charles Ray Schild, Griswold,Jimmy McKinny,& Ronnie Chumley & Joe Plowman. Add H.B.Bailey to the list

Edited by sprintcar
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Actually Billy Wade was unbeatable at Meyer Speedway which was a 1/2 mile track. Another Billy, Billy Griswold was the man to beat at Playland Park. The car owner was Johnny Reiff, who I worked for and later drove his car when Griswold retired.Playland was a 1/8th mile track. The big names at Meyer Speedway other than Wade were M.J.Burton, Bill Blumerich, Charles Ray Schild, Griswold,Jimmy McKinny,& Ronnie Chumley & Joe Plowman. Add H.B.Bailey to the list

Wecome, sprintcar! From your comments, it's good to see there is someone on this forum that appears to be almost as old as I am...maybe older. From previous posts of mine, you can see that I went to many races at Playland and then to Meyer, when it opened. I always thought Playland was a 1/4 mile track, but you should know better than I. Did you read in a previous post of mine that I was very close to Blackie Lothringer's car when it came flying over the fence/wall that night? Were you there that night? Thanks for posting more names of the drivers of that era. I remember them. One you left out was Norm Pierce. He and Billy Wade had many close races to the finish line at Playland. A close friend of mine, Ben Bishop, raced at Meyer when it first opened. He was a rookie and only raced for a year or two. He ran in a '57 Chevy. Know him? Did you ever race at the old Arrowhead Park Speedway? I saw A. J. Foyt race there in midgets a few times when he was just starting out.

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I think that was Billy Wade. I could be wrong. I used to go there very often. He was one of my favorites.

Yeah, 57 bird you are right. Norman was a hard charging competitor.Unfortunantally we lost Norman in 2005.Yes I did go to Arrowhead, of course I was just a kid,but I would tag along behind Johnny Reiff, the car owner for Billy Griswold, I didn't drive anything there 'cuz I was way too young.Norman raced there alot,

as did Billy Wade,Doc Cossey, Buddy Rackley,A.JFoyt, Quinten Steinman,Don Burton, Cecil Elliot, Tubby Gonzales,&Billy Griswold. Griswold, Doc Cossy,Don Burton,Cecil Elliot, & Johnny Reiff,& Norman Peirce & of course Billy Wade are all gone now, I miss them all,but I owe them all alot. Those guy's taught me alot, not only mechanical & driving stuff, but kept me away from most bad things life can tempt you with while growing up.I still see Norman Peirce jr. a lot, he's pretty much like his dad, but he was never very interested in driving.

Edited by sprintcar
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Yeah, 57 bird you are right. Norman was a hard charging competitor.Unfortunantally we lost Norman in 2005.Yes I did go to Arrowhead, of course I was just a kid,but I would tag along behind Johnny Reiff, the car owner for Billy Griswold, I didn't drive anything there 'cuz I was way too young.Norman raced there alot,

as did Billy Wade,Doc Cossey, Buddy Rackley,A.JFoyt, Quinten Steinman,Don Burton, Cecil Elliot, Tubby Gonzales,&Billy Griswold. Griswold, Doc Cossy,Don Burton,Cecil Elliot, & Johnny Reiff,& Norman Peirce & of course Billy Wade are all gone now, I miss them all,but I owe them all alot. Those guy's taught me alot, not only mechanical & driving stuff, but kept me away from most bad things life can tempt you with while growing up.I still see Norman Peirce jr. a lot, he's pretty much like his dad, but he was never very interested in driving.

In the late 40's and early 50's there was a dirt track located in Channelview near the intersection of Sheldon Rd and Bear Bayou. It was active until about 1955 at the latest because I learned to drive on the old abandoned track in about 1958. Anyhow, it was only open on weedends and mostly stock cars built by local junkyard operators raced there but occassionally midget races and modifieds ran. These were mostly drivers from out of town (Houston was considered a long way off from Channelview in the 50's before I-10 was built.) I cannot remember any drivers who raced there but am sure some of the ones you have mentioned made the circuit.

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  • 4 weeks later...
A friend of mine mentioned a kiddie place called Wee Wild West. I went there as a kid (60's) but have no idea where it was. Anybody remember that one?

I went there as a child also for b'day parties. It was located near Yorktown and Westheimer I think. Maybe where they later in the 60s build Western National Bank. It's another bank now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Peppermint Park I remember was where the beltway and 59 south meet now....it had some nice rides in it but it seemed like half the train tracks in there never worked...

I remember Nathan's Phimsical Whymsical in Sharpstown Mall....it had a shadow room, a mirror maze, a big jumping castle...

Westwood Mall had extensive renovations in 1991 or so...it had a 2-story merry-go-round.

Mountain Park...I never figured out its purpose...I went there once...

wasn't there 2 malibus in the SW Houston area?

my father remembered playland park but he grew up in the time where he could go only on certain days...

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The crash you are refering to happened in '59. One of the 3 people killed was one of the owners of Playland and unfortunately, he was the one owner who was passoinate about the park. This basicaly signaled the beginning of the end of the park since his siblings allowed it to fall into neglect and disrepair.

I found this out when I went to the library down town to research Playland. I found several news articles but zero photographs. Where can one find more pictures of Playland?

That's correct. Blackie went into the stands and killed several people. It effectively shut the place down.

But I thought it was family, like children or grandchildren, of the owner who were killed. Are you sure it was the owner?

We used to go to the races in Channel View, Meyerland, and Playland Park and my favorite driver was Buddy Rackley. I think he ran the #8 on his midget. It was the most exciting thing in the world to a 6 year old kid. Gawd, I love the smell of burned fuel and castor oil to this day. :D

I distinctly remember A. J. Foyt, Jr. (rememer, A.J. Sr. was "Tony" Foyt, a force to be reckoned with!) because as a teenage kid and driver he always sported natty, clean uniforms amidst all the grease and gunk.

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What was the name of the dirt track on South Main? I went there only once as a kid in the mid 70s and a car flipped over right in front of us. It was really cool! :-)

That site sat vacant for a very long time and I think was still there in the mid to late 80s.

Also, anyone know what the name of the motorcycle racing track that used to be at 59 & 610?

I have seen some web sites here and there dedicated to old auto racing sites in various locations around the country but never any for the Houston area. Now that would be awesome!

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What was the name of the dirt track on South Main? I went there only once as a kid in the mid 70s and a car flipped over right in front of us. It was really cool! :-)

That site sat vacant for a very long time and I think was still there in the mid to late 80s.

Was that Playland Park? There are a number of posts here about it.

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Was that Playland Park? There are a number of posts here about it.

I'm sorta thinking it was based on several posts about it here and other places. There's a thread about it on the Houston Area Postcard club site.

Someone said it was located at S. Main & Murworth - which would be inside the loop (currently).

Found a small news item about it on Historic Houston: "July 1951: A gang riot erupts near Playland Park and 36 youths are jailed."

For some reason I'm thinking of a racetrack that was further south on the Alt 90 section much closer to Stafford/Sugarland.

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For some reason I'm thinking of a racetrack that was further south on the Alt 90 section much closer to Stafford/Sugarland.

The only one out that direction would have been Meyer Speedway. It was located just west of Butler Stadium about where Hillcroft is. It was a half-mile paved track. The Playland track was long gone in the mid-70's.

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Did a little searching and found this picture of Hanna Barberra land in Spring.

hannabarberalandhouston.jpg

the only memories i had if i remember correctly when you were on the paddle boats there was like a rainbow bridge you went under, a ferris wheel ...and blue ice cream? i rmember my folkes bought me this souvenier there it was a smurf train that you wound up and went in circles. anyone find more pics of hanna barbera land?

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This is not really on topic, but what about the Blimp Hangar out on I-45. I remember when we used to drive to Ftl Worth to seem my Grandparents we would pass by the Hangar and sometimes the blimp was out there. I have no clue where this was or what is there now.

and i remember that place i used to pass by it all the time when i was little when i had to go to my granma's house ,if you know where the old sam montgomery oldsmobile dealership used to be and on the corner of rankin road where a RV dealer now stands,is where she used to stay. Now heres a question that ive always wanted answers to, who remembers that rocket man on the old sam montgomery dealership roof? if you do anyone know its where abouts? the last time ive seen it was when they used it for display during the rockets first championship. sorry if jumped off topic for a minute :D

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Actually Billy Wade was unbeatable at Meyer Speedway which was a 1/2 mile track. Another Billy, Billy Griswold was the man to beat at Playland Park. The car owner was Johnny Reiff, who I worked for and later drove his car when Griswold retired.Playland was a 1/8th mile track. The big names at Meyer Speedway other than Wade were M.J.Burton, Bill Blumerich, Charles Ray Schild, Griswold,Jimmy McKinny,& Ronnie Chumley & Joe Plowman. Add H.B.Bailey to the list

Hey Sprintcar, I just ran across some old posts. I also knew Johnny, Billy and others. Since you knew Johnny and Billy, You must have known Tony Medina (great guy to have on your side in a fight). What ever became of Tony? He used to have a tire store on Washington Ave. I lost track of a lot of these guys after racing. I think Jimmy (Griswold) still has the transmission shop. Man, this board brings back memories!

Jakdad

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Playland Park's address was 9200 South Main St. My family lived inside the gates from 1942 until 1952.

My Dad was a partner in Busch-Laube Concessions who had the food stands.

Dad and Mother owned the mug joint ( photo machine) My brother and I had a pony ride. David and I bought our ponies and tack from the guy who owned the pony ride on South Main a couple of blocks north of the Shamrock.

There was a downtown amusement park that was called Playmore.

I also remember Playland Stadium and the accident. Sam Slusky (one of the owners of Playland) was killed in that one. I had been in the stadium talking to Mr. Slusky just a few minutes before.

How about Meyerland Speedway?

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Here's an amusement park/kiddie park I don't think I've seen mentioned on HAIF:

Kiddie King Center

5103 Holmes Rd.

Phone: OL 4-5512

From the Houston Chronicle, May 23, 1956:

kiddiekingcenter018cr.jpg

kiddiekingcenter024lk.jpg

Little late to use the free ticket I guess... :P

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Here's an amusement park/kiddie park I don't think I've seen mentioned on HAIF:

Kiddie King Center

5103 Holmes Rd.

Phone: OL 4-5512

From the Houston Chronicle, May 23, 1956:

kiddiekingcenter018cr.jpg

kiddiekingcenter024lk.jpg

Little late to use the free ticket I guess... :P

I wonder if this was the amusement park I remember going to that was near the Prudential Building? While on the rides or walking around eating candy apples and cotton candy, we could see "the rock".

Edited by Ashikaga
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Nope, probably now. This one was by today's South Loop.

If you were to take a ride in the middle of the night, getting on IH 610, say, where it intersects with Gulf Freeway, how long do you think that it would take you to make a full circle, exiting at Gulfgate Mall?

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If you were to take a ride in the middle of the night, getting on IH 610, say, where it intersects with Gulf Freeway, how long do you think that it would take you to make a full circle, exiting at Gulfgate Mall?

610 Loop is 37 miles around. Probably about 40 minutes.

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610 Loop is 37 miles around. Probably about 40 minutes.

I just finish driving around the loop. It took 38:28.91 to go around the loop at 60mph at around 1am with no traffic :blush: I know sad...I couldn't sleep

Edited by JGraspo
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It's always funny how the papers back then would put the person's name AND address in the article--could you imagine that now? It'd probably land a lawsuit!

Yep - we're all much too afraid of the consequences these days to go around posting our names and addresses all over the place. :(

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I remembert Gateway, both the pool and the skating rink. Had birthday party room at the rink, did the bunny hop and

the hokey pokey there.

about the "Bubble" that has indeed been a mystery; I was afraid of it and thus never went down it -- and have not

ever been able to fiigure out how it was that one could breathe inside it.

--> so if anyone knows how the bubble worked, please reply although maybe some things should just be left

as a mystery,

There was also a big tower like thing called, I think, the bobber, where you could jump on it and it would take you

down to the water and back up.

maybe 18 years ago I drove by where gateway was and walked to where the pool was - it was all closed down

but the pool was stiill there - i saw some metal objects floating in the shallow end, perhaps it was remnants of the

bubble or the bopper.

other things remembered --

the monoriail test track near smain and ost

kiddeworld on smain of course

fallout shelter store on smain near ost

playland park - i wasnt allowed to go but snuck there one time - remember a carny area like where

they guessed your weight

(maybe it was the race accident mentioned in other posts that was cause of parents not letting me go;

I always thought it was not wanting me to be around carnival folks)

saturday matinees at bellarire theater - stella link and bellaire - cartoon, serial, western and feature

kitirik - went to the show once also -- guess they wanted to get adult viewers also with the black tights and high heels :)

remember captain bob show also, as well as romper room - went to that once - i think channel 11 had studios

in prudential building

what about the weather eye - i'll have to see some other section of the web site for that -- anyone remember

the song in their ad about it ? (I know, but its a good quiz item)

Georg

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Every year, in the 50's & early 60's, Playland Park had "back to School" party. Houston Press had 1 coupon each day during summer, & was good for 1 free ride. We would collect coupons from anyone that would give to us, ride bus from Near North Side to Playland, & ride Roller Coaster 30 or 40 times. Used to see the Houston Wrestlers of Paul Bosch at the party every year.

There was also a Huge public swimming pool near there. Gateway Swim? Had a big bubble at bottom of deep end you could swim down to and actually breathe inside the bubble.... can't quite remember how that worked... hummmmm

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I'm sorta thinking it was based on several posts about it here and other places. There's a thread about it on the Houston Area Postcard club site.

Someone said it was located at S. Main & Murworth - which would be inside the loop (currently).

Found a small news item about it on Historic Houston: "July 1951: A gang riot erupts near Playland Park and 36 youths are jailed."

For some reason I'm thinking of a racetrack that was further south on the Alt 90 section much closer to Stafford/Sugarland.

Since Astroworld is gone and it sounds like there are no more amusement park in Houston, does that leave Kemah with the only one?

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Anybody know when Playland Park opened? Believe it or not, I've got through every thread on HAIF and while I found lots of interesting stories, I never once saw anyone say when it opened. The closest was a post where someone said he lived on the site from 1942 to 1952. Is that when it opened? 1942?

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Anybody know when Playland Park opened? Believe it or not, I've got through every thread on HAIF and while I found lots of interesting stories, I never once saw anyone say when it opened. The closest was a post where someone said he lived on the site from 1942 to 1952. Is that when it opened? 1942?

I still get Playland and Peppermint Park confused.

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I remember going to Kiddieland park some time in the early 50s. I was very small and don't remember much about it. It might have been on the Katy freeway - which was highway 90 then. I have tried searching Google, but can't find any mention of it anywhere.

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Does anyone remember these old amusement places in Houston? what they were called? where there may be pictures of them?

The ski slope at the intersection of 610 West Loop and Southwest Freeway which later became...

The waterslide at the intersection of 610 West Loop and Southwest Freeway which finally became...

Malibu go-cart raceway and arcade at the Southwest Freeway

Games-People-Play...I believe it was on Fondren....big 80's hangout with arcade, waterslides and go carts..

B)

The ski slope was a joke! I'm not sure how they thought that would work in the Hot Texas State! I remember driving by it and feeling exited that it might work. Think about how fast ice melts in Texas. What a tax right-off. I don't know why the waterslide did not work out, but I was under the impression that it was owned by the same "tax right-off people."

Malibu at SW Freeway was a murder scene of 3 or more people during late 70's or early 80's. It was a horrific awakening for those of us who had been there before. I have to say, I never went back!

Games People Play was on Fondren and Beechnut. Learned to play PacMan, Froggers. and Centipede there! How funny! I can still picture it, not much now but a whole lot at the time. Used to practice baseball there too.

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I remember going to Kiddieland park some time in the early 50s. I was very small and don't remember much about it. It might have been on the Katy freeway - which was highway 90 then. I have tried searching Google, but can't find any mention of it anywhere.
Alpha, I thought I was the only one who remembered that place! Like you, I remember very little about it as I was very young. I went there with a birthday group with a kid from school, so I had to have been at least 5 (1953). All I really remember about the place was that there was a fire truck that ran around the fenced park, and kids were riding on the top of it. It was a huge fire truck, but I was seeing through a small kid's eyes. However, I didn't get to ride it for some reason.

I remember the place being way out Hwy 90 (I-10), and would guess it was between Bingle and, at the farthest, Gessner.

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Alpha, I thought I was the only one who remembered that place! Like you, I remember very little about it as I was very young. I went there with a birthday group with a kid from school, so I had to have been at least 5 (1953). All I really remember about the place was that there was a fire truck that ran around the fenced park, and kids were riding on the top of it. It was a huge fire truck, but I was seeing through a small kid's eyes. However, I didn't get to ride it for some reason.

I remember the place being way out Hwy 90 (I-10), and would guess it was between Bingle and, at the farthest, Gessner.

Thanks for your reply, Heights2Bastrop.

I was beginning to think that I was imagining it :-).

I was also 5 in 1953, but I don't know how old I was when I went there. I just remember that my mom said that Kiddieland was better than Playland Park for little kids.

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Speaking of Playland Park

I was going through old pictures and found this ad in a copy of the 1945 Daily Cougar (my Dad's) from U of H.

playland.jpg

Would this be the same roller coaster? Dated May 1943. I believe I found this image online at the Smithsonian.

houstonrolllercoastermay1943ur7.jpg

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Would this be the same roller coaster? Dated May 1943. I believe I found this image online at the Smithsonian.

I believe it is, especially since the ad is from 1945. Great picture, by the way. I think I'll look at the Smithsonian online and see what else I can find.

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A friend of mine mentioned a kiddie place called Wee Wild West. I went there as a kid (60's) but have no idea where it was. Anybody remember that one?

It was in the lamar terrace area, south of westhiemer and west of post oak or even chimney rock I think. I went there in the 1950s, and lived in Lamar Terrace till 1958.

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Herring Burl Bailey was born Nov. 15, 1936 and lived most of his life in Houston. Surviving are his wife Michelle and six children. Son Joe Dan Bailey, who worked with several Cup teams as a tire specialist in the 1990s, now works at NASCAR's R&D center. Likeable Bailey, whose bearded visage was easily recognizable, never attempted more than six or eight Winston Cup (Grand National) races in a season, and his best finishes were two fifth-places.

Bailey also competed in NASCAR's lower-dollar Grand American division in the 1960s and 1970s, winning the GA pole at Daytona in 1972 and finishing second in the class standings.

Bailey was one of a group of persistent small operators who lasted in NASCAR well into the 1980s, although Bailey seemed more to race for fun than for a career. He ran his last Winston Cup race in 1990. H.B. Bailey, part-time NASCAR independent and operator of a group of Houston-area auto parts businesses, died 4/17/2003 of heart failure at the age of 66.

This is a short Grand National history of the H.B. Bailey NASCAR Grand American Firebird. This car and several others were part of a trial by NASCAR to mix the Pony cars (GT or Grand-American) with the Grand National (now known as Winston Cup) cars. That experiment was to be tried for the first time on September 19, 1971 at North Wilkesboro, NC. That race was to be the first to mix the smaller cars with the Grand National cars. Unfortunately the race was postponed by rain. It was later run in October. Prior to the rain, Charlie Glotzbzch in Junior Johnson

Edited by Mark F. Barnes
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Wow! Great photos, Mark. Burl sounds like quite a fellow. And thanks for the clip of Billy Wade. That must have been right before he died. I mentioned in a previous thread that I remember Billy from Playland days, even more so than Foyt. Billy

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okay boys and girls here is one for the ages

playland1954b.jpg

Scrambling around the pits trying to get ready @ Playland

Playland1954.jpg

That's (L to R) my father H H Barnes his little brother (and Mechanic) Robert Barnes, Ralph Beckett, and a very young Lloyd Ruby!!!!

This sure doesn't look like the track set-up I remember at Playland Park on South Main in Houston. With all due respect, this may be a Playland race track, but it's somewhere else other than Houston.

The only thing it has in common with the Houston Playland layout is some carnival rides in the background.

I went to dozens of races there between 1950 and when it closed down in the early 60's, so the memories are pretty well etched in what gray matter I have left. I saw just about everything there...modifieds, midgets, powder-puff derbies, figure-8 races, demolition derbies. I don't remember any sprint-car races though, like the cars shown in these photos. I think the track might have been too short for them. There could have been some, though. I do remember lots of sprint-car races at Meyer on the half-mile track there.

First...There were no trees in the area. The track ran east to west. The start-finish line was on the north side with a small press box at the top of the stands. I always sat in the south side stands. The parking area was behind these stands, with not much to the south except open land and some motels. To the north, there was the U-turn of the roller coaster and then a few motels and other small structures over to OST where Prince's Drive-In was located at the intersection of Main and OST. The entrance to the raceway was on the west side of the track at the far east end of the amusement park area. At the east end of the track was the pit area. Beyond the pit area were open fields and no trees. The parking area for the amusement area was between the park and South Main. I think Gaido's was on the other side of Main from Playland.

Second... There was no white picket fence around the pit area; nor was there any grass in the pit area. There were well-worn horizontal boards about 3'-4' high that encircled the track. Behind that track barrier was a tall chain-link fence...maybe 8-10' tall that was in front of the stands on both the north and south sides. At the west end of the track, outside the wooden barrier, was a corrogated metal fence/wall about 8' tall. Just outside this was the entrance to the raceway for the spectators. I mentioned in another thread about Playland that I was standing in the entrance area when Blackie Lothringer's came flying over the wall during warm-ups and killed a couple of people not more than 50' from me. It's amazing that no one else was killed during the races there, over the years. I remember several times when cars would hurdle over the barrier and into the chain-link fence, almost into the people sitting down in front. Safety regulations today would never allow a set-up like they had back then. The entrance to the pits was through a gate at turn 3. The exit was back through another gate at turn 4. The pit area was asphalt and no grass.

Third...There is a blue tent and a white house in the upper left background of one of the photos. Nothing like that at Playland in Houston.

Fourth... I showed these photos to some contemporaries of mine who attended races at Playland, and they concurred that those pictures were not from the Playland we know.

So...I don't know where the description of these photos came from, but I'm sure they are not of Playland-Houston.

I love the pictures and hope you post more of them.

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TBird, I thought the same thing, only my memories of the Playland Park racetrack are from a very young age. As a kid, things usually seem much bigger that they actually were. In this case, it was just the opposite. The track in the photos appears much larger than what I remember Playland being.

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