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Old racetrack off of Buffalo Speedway?

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Does anyone know what this used to be?

 

 

By the way, hi everyone! This is my first post, so i hope i'm doing everything by the rules. I'm a history nut (Anthropology major with a focus in classical archaeology) and have spent the past day lurking through the entire Historical Houston section of the forums. I'm about halfway through all of the posts, and while checking out the Old Main Loop, noticed this racetrack looking formation off of Buffalo Speedway. I figured i'd ask you guys and pick your brains about it. 

 

I look forward to learning as much as i can about this awesome city from y'all!! :D

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If you look at Google street view it is just a darinage ditch that is most likely 3 yrs old max

Edited by DJboutit

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It's only been a few years since they extended Buffalo Speedway south of Bellfort, and Bellfort didn't connect between Stella link and Buffalo Speedway.

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....aaaaaand now that i the street view from right in front of it, i can now see it's definitely just a ditch.

 

Oh man, what a first post fail. 

 

@de la rosa, yep! i post on r/houston quite a bit. but don't worry, what i say on r/houston will stay on r/houston. this is not reddit. thanks for the welcome. i've already bookmarked so many historical places to check out around town. :)

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I've noticed that as well and thought maybe it had something to do with the planned Buffalo Lakes development down there that apparently never happened

 

If you look at the Buffalo Lakes master plan there was some sort of drainage/retention pond that somewhat mirrored the location of the ditch.

 

Buffalo Lakes

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I have seen that '44ish pic before on posts/threads out here in the past. I believe that was truly a popular race track back in the day around where Pershing Middle school is now.

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I have seen that '44ish pic before on posts/threads out here in the past. I believe that was truly a popular race track back in the day around where Pershing Middle school is now.

 

I think it was some sort of private thing. There's no parking, no stands, no buildings. Could have been for horse training. The small track is about 800 yard, maybe more, 880 would make it 4 furlongs. The big track is over 1.25 miles.

 

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You mean this old race track seen on Google Earth 1944 historical view?

 

No, i'm already aware of that one, where pershing middle school is now. 

 

i'm just an idiot and legitimately thought that drainage ditch was a race track. it was the aerial view that fooled me. :/

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No, i'm already aware of that one, where pershing middle school is now. 

 

i'm just an idiot and legitimately thought that drainage ditch was a race track. it was the aerial view that fooled me. :/

 

Don't feel bad, I've similar gaffes in trying to ask what something used to be. Some of those are best left unsaid.  :mellow:

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I am currently in the Bellaire Coffee Shop and they have a copy on the counter of "Life and Times Around Bellaire, Texas 1909-2013" Fourth Edition by J. Michael McCorkle. Page 15 shows a photo of the race track (now Pershing MS) from 1929. "Bellaire Raceway Park, built in the mid-1920s, south of Bellaire Boulevard at Stella Link. The multi-purpose raceway consisted of a short inner track and a longer outer track. Automobiles and horses raced on the inner track and on special occasions airplanes raced cars along the outer track. In this scene, helium balloons are preparing to launch for a distance race... Local real estate agents often distributed free tickets to the various races as a means to promote the area and encourage people to visit the City of Bellaire." There are some grandstands shown at the central western section, overlooking the straightaways of the inner and outer tracks. I wish I could post the photo, but I respect the copyright.

Interesting book. I had no idea that there was once a monorail in 1956 on South Main and Kirby (1/4-mile test track) because this was a proposed site for the 1962 World's Fair. "But the people of Houston did not want to look like Chicago or New York City. Eight months later it was removed by popular demand and moved to the Texas State Fair in Dallas."

And there was another monorail around the Hobby Airport parking lot! In 1972. But, according to this book, the local taxi driver's union killed plans to extend it to downtown.

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It wasn't the taxi driver's union that killed the Hobby monorail. Unions aren't that strong in Texas, even the Teamsters. It was the Taxi Company - Yellow Cab, which until very recent times enjoyed a monopoly on cab service in Houston, thanks to the Houston City Council members on its "campaign donation" payroll.

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Interesting book. I had no idea that there was once a monorail in 1956 on South Main and Kirby (1/4-mile test track) because this was a proposed site for the 1962 World's Fair. "But the people of Houston did not want to look like Chicago or New York City. Eight months later it was removed by popular demand and moved to the Texas State Fair in Dallas."

 

 

I never knew that Houston was a proposed site for the 1962 World's Fair. We could've had a Space Needle!

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I never knew that Houston was a proposed site for the 1962 World's Fair. We could've had a Space Needle!

 

That would have been so appropriate for this city - even more so than for Seattle. At 605 feet the Space Needle would now be dwarfed by many buildings here. San Antonio's Tower of the Americas is 622 feet and, I believe, still the tallest structure in Bexar County.

 

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I wonder if having a 605 foot Space Needle would have affected the heights of the buildings built here...

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I wonder if having a 605 foot Space Needle would have affected the heights of the buildings built here...

 

If you mean, would developers, designers, and building owners honor the height by avoiding building above it I doubt it. I believe the only thing that keeps Houston from having a 100+ story building is economic reality.

 

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I just wanted to pop in back on the original topic and put in a warning about anyone who might get it in their heads to explore the area in question.  Just a few hundred feet north towards W. Bellfort is a large indigent encampment (visible on google maps).  The folks there are not particularly interested in having visitors and rumors say that some parts of the area may have traps.

There's nothing down there at the ditch that's worth even an uncomfortable encounter.

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I can kind of see some items to the southeast of the apartment complex on Bellfort (between South Main and Buffalo Speedway), and while I don't see anything else, I know these types of small wooded areas in urban areas are notorious homeless camps...the "jungle" in Seattle is one such example (incredible amounts of trash) and there at least was one north of I-10 on Patterson. 

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