Longacres Racetrack – Vintage Aerials

Longacres Racetrack may be gone now but she lives on in people’s hearts. So many have reached out to me from the documentation I have recently done on The Ruins of Longacres. One of the most gracious has been Bill Taylor.

Bill right away sent me a photo of the Entrance Units under I-405 when I posted my first article called Relics of Longacres. Link to article In the last month he sent me this series of aerial photos.  Most of them are from the early 60s when the freeway was under construction and Southcenter Mall was just a dream.

Let us jump right into things!

This first picture that was the opener is of the racetrack in 1959 when the Green River flooded.

These next two pictures are from the 1960s. The arial is the Mile Day (Longacres Mile Race) showing a packed parking lot and grandstands. The second is the running of the Rainiers which should put a smile on your face.

Mile Day 1960's - Longacres
Mile Day 1960’s – Longacres
Rainier Race in 1960s - Longacres
Rainier Race in 1960s – Longacres

Bill sent me this wonderful piece of Longacres art that only one print was every made of. Notice the lombardy poplar trees that are a signature of the track.  Mt Rainier is peeking in behind the trees.

Longacres Art from Bill Taylor
Longacres Art from Bill Taylor

Next are a series of photos of I-405 being constructed. This has to be before 1965. That was when the first piece of it was opened between Tukwila and Renton.

I have done some more research around the entrance units that are now under the I-405 with these photos. They are not visible on any of them best I can tell zooming them in and out. There is an additional railroad spur about where they are. This old spur has been gone so long that when I went back to the site I cannot find any signs that it ever existed. Look closely yourself and see what I means.

LGA 1
I-405 under construction in mid 60s – Longacres is on left
Longacres next to I-405 under construction
Longacres next to I-405 under construction
LGA 3
I-405 bridge being built over railroad next to Longacres racetrack in early 1960s

Continuing on the entrance units concept here is another picture Bill sent me earlier. It must be in the 80s since the additional grandstands are built.  Note the red box highlights where you can see the two entrance units under the freeway. Somewhere between the freeway construction and then they were moved there.

Photo of Longacres entrance units and parking lot - from Doug Clark of Four Footed Fotos
Photo of Longacres entrance units and parking lot – from Doug Clark of Four Footed Fotos

In my research I found a letter from the City of Renton to the Washington Dept. of Transportation.  One of the items was asking them to save the units.  The WADOT stated they did not qualify since they were put there since the freeway was built. Not what I thought at first but it seems to fit the pictures above.

Renton Letter to DOT header - 2008

Renton Letter to DOT header - 2008 - Item #7 relics

Renton Letter to DOT header - 2008 - Item #7 DOT rspns

Renton Letter to DOT header - 2008 - Item #7 relics response

The WA DOT has it wrong though about them being moved there when the racetrack was destroyed or sold to Boeing.

Does anyone reading this have knowledge of these two units? Where did they come from and when did they get installed under the freeway? All good things to know if and when the State decides to move or destroy them.

Back to Bill’s historic pictures. Here are three more showing what the area looked like about 50 years ago. I have added a google map view for your comparison at the end.

Longacres in the 1960s next to I-405
Longacres in the 1960s next to I-405
Longacres 1960s showing west side and West Valley Hwy
Longacres 1960s showing west side and West Valley Hwy

LGA 6

Longacres Racetrack and Southcenter 2016
Longacres Racetrack and Southcenter 2016

I have included Southcenter in this Google Map snip so you can compare that to the next photo too.

LGA 7
Longacres Racetrack with future site of Southcenter at top

One feature of Longacres that Tina (remember how she helped me find ruins one day?) told me about was the house behind the scoreboard. It had a pool even. Bill rounded out the photos he sent me with one of the house.

Longacres Racetrack house behind the tote board..3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a swimming pool
Longacres Racetrack house behind the tote board..3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a swimming pool

I have to thank Bill again for his generosity in sharing his photos and knowledge.

If you want to know more about Longacres today here is a link to the first article.

Ruins of Longacres – the Foundations

 

7 thoughts on “Longacres Racetrack – Vintage Aerials

  1. “The second is the running of the Rainiers which should put a smile on your face…”

    I am intrigued. I live on the East Coast. My father was an avid racetrack fan, went to the local tracks all his life (and almost became a jockey when he was teenager). So I was expecting “horses”…

    Erm. 🙂 What the heck? I would be tickled to hear WHAT I’m looking at in that photo!

    1. this is wonderful – read my other articles and the one called Ruins of Longacres – the track has a little movie with the last race at the track. So, sad how the family sold to boeing and then the big corp just razed it. 😦

    2. the reason for the beer bottles was Rainier Beer is an old beer from Seattle.. dating back to 1900 or even earlier.. so Longacres was having fun with a commercial thy did years ago

  2. Thanks for the memories. I spent many magical days there from 1972 until closing day. I met many friends there & have thought about having someone sneak in & spread my ashes by the finish line when I die as I had many a thrilling moment there. I still have a form & program from the last day.
    A friend of mine who passed a few years ago, Sol Saporta, wrote something in one of his books about horse racing fans that I love. ‘Every racetrack is populated by gamblers, touts, hustlers, and bookies all with a little larceny in their hearts, which, paradoxically, makes them a cut above the average citizen when it comes to honesty, decency, and integrity’. He was at Longacres almost every day of the racing season. I miss him & I miss Longacres, what a beautiful track! Such great memories!

    1. Steve – this is why I did the articles on Longacres. It is slipping away from us as others forget what was in Seattle.

      I would ask you if you think I found the right place as the finish line. It was really hard considering what was left.

      If you have any pictures to share I can add them too.

      Thanx again for visiting my blog. r

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