Ruins of Longacres Racetrack – The Track

The thrill of any race is the thunder of hooves or engines roaring. I cannot imitate that for you nor should I. There are many tracks across the world where this excitement exists but today we will visit a racetrack in ruins. My visit to document Longacres Racetrack in Renton, Washington left me humbled and sad but elated to feel the vibrations of such greatness. That energy is so strong it survives man’s attempt to destroy it.

The south end of the track is a place we will start. This is where the first turn is past the grandstands and club house. What I found the most amazing was the Lombardy Poplar trees that were planted along the edge.  They are still there plus their children.

Poplars still line the curve of Longacres Track deserted
Poplars still line the curve of Longacres Track deserted
Closeup of Poplars rotting away at Longacres in ruins
Closeup of Poplars rotting away at Longacres in ruins

These next pictures are at the very south end of the track. Let us look at how the track looks facing West and then East down at this southern end.  There is a new building being built off to the south and I entered the track from the remains of the perimeter road.

Back curve looking east at Longacres ruins
Back curve looking east at Longacres ruins
Back curve looking west at Longacres ruins
Back curve looking west at Longacres ruins
Longacres ruins of racetrack back curve
Longacres ruins of racetrack back curve
Old original poplars on back curve Longacres
Old original poplars on back curve Longacres

I wove my way around the fallen trees and brambles that are on the original track. Not much but blackberries and grass will grow on it. In the 1930s it was made to last with Green River sandy loam over a hard clay base. Everywhere around the track the youngster poplars and other small trees have taken over. However, the track is still open most of the way until I got to the remains of the backstretch.

First before I have to dig through the brier, I found a series of light post bases. The electricals are still hanging around too.

Light pillar in ruins at Longacres - NE corner track
Light pillar in ruins at Longacres – SE corner track
Electrical in pit at SE corner of Longacres racetrack ruins
Electrical in pit at SE corner of Longacres racetrack ruins
Northeast side of Longacres track 2016 with blackberries
East side of Longacres track 2016 with blackberries

This part of the track runs right into one of the Boeing Campus buildings and parking lots. The going isn’t too easy since it was left to go wild.

Backstretch remains of Longacres - view south
Backstretch remains of Longacres – view south

I popped out onto the edge of the parking lot and saw security driving by. Being a little paranoid I hustled off to the trail that cuts through the middle of the infield. This is the same path that Boeing built for their employees to access the Light Rail Station.  Here is a view of the infield looking south from this area. You can see the poplars marking the edge of the track like the sentinels they have been from the beginning.

Infield of Longacres ruins in 2016
Infield of Longacres ruins in 2016

The path cuts by the pond that Boeing built in the middle of what was the track. I assume they did this to fix the drainage problems that had plagued the track for years. It usually flooded every year from the Green River until the Howard Hansen Dam was built. That now controls the river and flooding is a long gone memory.  However, the area is still low and swampy. The ponds are a pretty place for wildlife and birds.

Pond Boeing created at Longacres infield
Pond Boeing created at Longacres infield

This brings us back to the West side of the track where the grandstands and finish line existed. Here are the views looking North and South along the track from the Boeing path. This side of the track is in much better shape and you can even imagine the horses racing by.

Longacres racetrack view north from Boeing Access road
Longacres racetrack view north from Boeing Access road
View South from Boeing Access road - Longacres track 2016
View South from Boeing Access road – Longacres track 2016

This next view is looking from about the finish line towards that first curve on the south end. We have now made it full circle.

Longacres in ruins racetrack looking south from about finish line
Longacres in ruins racetrack looking south from about finish line

I am going to finish this series of posts with a movie of the track coupled with some stills of the last race on September 21, 1992.

This was the third in a series on the Ruins of Longacres. The first was on The Foundations and can be found here – Longacres Ruins – The Foundations.   The second was on the Green Wall  and you can find it here – Ruins of Longacres – The Green Wall.  Then there is the first post that started all this, my post on the old entrance units under the freeway – Longacres Relics

Hope you enjoyed the visit to how time erodes all that man can create and once we leave the site nature has a way of taking her earth back.

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