Along my journey to find the ruins of Longacres Racetrack, I collected what most of us know as now and then photos. For history novices this is where a photo from the past is paired with a more current one.
The majority of my then photos come from the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey that are part of the Library of Congress digital records. The photos were taken in May of 1993 as a survey of the buildings prior to being razed by Boeing.
The feature photo was sent to me by Bill Taylor along with other photos primarily from the early 1960s. Look for those in an upcoming post. I wanted to thank Bill for all the information he has sent me especially around my investigation into the old entrance units under I-405.
The first set of photos show the entrance to the racetrack under the railroad that runs on the West Side of the site. Today this road is called Longacres Way.
The area around the two railroad trestles has been developed into a full-scale train station for the north south Sounder train service. Boeing built a trail for their employees to access this transportation hub by cutting through the original grandstands.
Our next series is around a view from the parking lot at the back of the north grandstand built in the 1980s. The catering office and grandstands are seen in our 1993 photo.
Notice the loading dock on the left of the building? Here is a photo of that area today in 2016 which I am sure is this same slab of concrete.
On the 1993 photo is a doorway about the middle of the catering offices. It had a short staircase that you can see in this 2016 photo.
While I was rambling around the ruins of Longacres I found a place on the green wall that had padding on both sides of an opening. This wall separated the crowd from the racing horses. The padding didn’t seem to be put there during the destruction of the buildings or so I assumed. When I found these two photos in the Historical Building Survey I knew for sure they were where the horses were paraded for all to see.
To give you a little more perspective on this building here is a shot of it from the parking lot side. The railroad track and train station is behind the photographer.
This photo shows the padded fencing from across the track in 1993. Good view of the club houses and Jockey building (on the left).
Now we are in 2016 and the buildings are all gone. Blackberries and small trees have taken over the area. However, one cannot miss the landmark of this padded area on the Green Wall.
Red tile is all around the ruins. A passerby told me that they thought it was the bathrooms. My memory told me it was too much to just be that. Bill confirmed along with these photos that the tile was in the main areas of the grandstands primarily by the betting windows.
First we have the original grandstand betting windows from 1993. All the hopes and dreams that stood on this floor can be felt. By the time these photos were taken the racing was over and soon all would be gone but the tile.
I found one of the tiles that was loose and here are closeups of the front and back of it.
To the North of this area one will find where the North Grandstands were. This was where I first encountered the red tiles. Here is a historical view of the betting windows and tile from 1993
The racetrack was ringed by Lombardy Poplars. As one watched the horse race facing to the southeast one could see Mt Rainier and these tall trees. This postcard that I had in the entrance unit post called Longacres Relic shows how these trees stood tall. Pay close attention to the southern track curve and the row of trees there.
This 1993 photos shows those southern curve trees that separate the track from the parking lot beyond.
It would only be proper to end with the Finish Line of the Longacres Racetrack of old. This first photo taken in 1993 shows it clearly with the two white posts in front of the announcing booth that is tucked in the rafters of the original grandstand.
Tis a bit sad to view this next photo. The once proud exciting place is now a jumble of blackberries, trees, brambles and tall grass.
Want more about the ruins of Longacres? Here are the three articles I wrote earlier this year with more information and videos.
If you have photos or information around the racetrack do contact me. I am still trying to understand the age of the twin entrance units under I-405. Some new photos Bill Taylor sent me make me think they were added in the 60s. Any clues would be appreciated.